Slander” is a word thats tossed around a lot. We all basically know that slander means someone has said something about us that is untrue. But what does slander mean in legal terms? When should one hire a Los Angeles slander attorney? When people sue for slander, it means their character, reputation or ability to earn a living has somehow been damaged by the spoken untrue words of someone else.
Most often, slander is a statement made by a person against another person, or about their means of livelihood or their good name that results in a defamation of character. Slander is ultimately about social standing in the community and character injury or defamation of character results when that slander affects the victims place in society in a negative way. A mans (or womans) honor, integrity and good name are really the only things he can control by his own behavior and when someone wrongly besmirches his reputation, it is called slander. In days past, this sort of an insult often resulted in the slap of a glove across a cheek and a duel to the death at dawn. Today, we turn to the courts.
Take Bob Ledersons case for instance. The owner of a car repair shop in Los Angeles, Bob had spent years building his reputation as a trustworthy mechanic and businessman in the community. He was a leader in an industry group and his business was thriving. A man named Stanley Green came to Bob to repair his car, but behaved so erratically that Bob politely declined to fix his car and recommended he take it to a dealership for repair. This was his right, but Stanley Green took offense. At a community business meeting, Stanley showed up and slanderously accused Bob in public of shoddy repair practices and of using parts from stolen vehicles to repair his customers cars. Naturally, Bob was shocked and angry by the slanderous accusation, but never dreamed anyone would take Stanley seriously. But when local police showed up to investigate the claim (they found nothing) innuendo spread around the community about what Stanley had claimed. Bobs business slid downhill and ultimately was forced to close. Unable to really defend himself against the slander without giving Stanley credibility, he was left with no alternative than to sue the man for the slander and defamation of character and for the damages hed suffered. Because Stanleys claims had no basis in truth, (in fact, they were a lie) and because many in the community had witnessed the slander, Bobs Los Angeles slander attorney made an out-of-court settlement with Stanleysattorneys and won a large amount of money.
If, for instance, Bob had used shady business dealings for parts and Stanley had accused him of something that was true, even in public, then Bob would have lost his slander lawsuit. Defamation of character refers to the damaging of a persons reputation, after all, and that person must be able to protect his/her good name. But if a mans name isnt good, he stands much less chance of succeeding in a slander lawsuit against defamation of character claims. For instance, if a man was known to keep a filthy kitchen in his diner and one of his patrons accused him publicly of having a roach infested diner, then the owner would lose a case of slander against him, because what the customer accused him of is based in fact. The fact that the owner of the restaurant took offense and had injury (in the form of lost customers) does not change the truth about the statement. So it is not, in that case, slander.
Sometimes, the terms defamation of character, slander and libel are used interchangeably. However, defamation of character is the heading (or the result) under which slander and libel fall. Slander is a verbal insult that causes character injury and libel is a written insult or accusation that causes defamation of character injury. Slander is often the more difficult to prove. It often requires witnesses who heard the comment, or some recording (a radio broadcast, TV interview etc.) to prove the lie or accusation was made. For a lie/accusation to be defined as slander, it must be spoken with malice or intent to harm character, which means the intention is that others will hear the lie and react to it. Often slander cases are settled before a trial commences as Los Angeles slander attorneys battle outside the courtroom to prove injury.
If you live in Los Angeles and feel you have been slandered and that someone has wrongly defamed your character and/or damaged your reputation, contact an experienced Los Angeles slander attorney who can get you the settlement you deserve while protecting your good name.