In order to file a lawsuit against an individual or organization alleging violation of the law, the plaintiff must be able to allege specific and clear violations of the law, as well as actual damages the plaintiff suffered as a result of the alleged violation. This is as true of defamation lawsuits as it is of any other law.
Although the First Amendment protects every citizen’s right to free speech, it does not allow public statements about other people who are public figures that are intentionally or deliberately false and accuse of them of certain types of misconduct and prohibits false statements against ordinary people that wrongly accuse them of certain types of misconduct. In order to be considered defamatory, a statement has to be made publicly, and with the result that the target suffered damage to their public reputation and/or career. Opinions and general rhetoric do not qualify as defamation. Continue reading ›