What recourse does a person have when lies are spread that damage their reputation? Throughout my career with Bordas & Bordas, I have had the opportunity to represent clients for claims stemming from false statements that greatly damaged their careers, companies and reputations. Additionally, I have spoken with many potential clients who were upset about lies being spread about them and were curious what legal recourse they may have. Many people have heard the words libel, slander and defamation thrown around, but never actually understood the meaning of these words. Since we are a firm that practices extensively throughout the tri-state area, I will provide general definitions of each of these claims, but please be aware that each state has its own specific law regarding each of these topics and this blog is not intended to provide a detailed analysis of each claim. Generally, defamation occurs when a false statement is made that is defamatory, meaning offensive, insulting or derogatory. The false statement must be published to another person and the publishing of the statement must cause damages to the person who is bringing the claim. Moreover, the damaged person’s status as a private individual, public official, public figure or if the matter was of public concern can change the state of mind the defendant is required to have acted with and the elements of the claim. Libel and slander are two different types of defamation. Generally, slander occurs when the defamation is based on a false spoken statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. In contrast, libel occurs when the false and damaging statement is published through writing. As with any claim brought, there are exceptions, privileges and defenses that can be alleged. However, if someone has published a false statement that has caused actual damage to your reputation or career, you may have a claim.