I am pleased to announce that the State Bar of Michigan's Litigation Journal has published my article, Pleading and Proving a Defamation Case. I write in the article:
“Defamation is notoriously tricky to plead and prove. In Michigan, defamation must be pled with specificity. Only statements of fact, not opinion, can be defamatory, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the statement’s falsehood. The very nature of the conduct (words) and injuries (reputational harm) can create unique evidentiary hurdles. And free speech protections under the First Amendment give rise to defenses that may defeat an otherwise viable claim."
The article explains how to properly allege defamation, discusses privileges that may shield a speaker from liability for an otherwise defamatory statement, and explores the rules for "unmasking" anonymous defendants -- i.e. the standards that courts use to decide whether to force a third party (such as an internet service provider) to disclose the identity of an anonymous blogger or commenter.
Defamation is a fascinating and still-developing area of law. It has taken on heightened importance in the era of the Internet and social media, when anyone can reach a worldwide audience with the click of a button. If you would like to read the whole article, you may find it HERE.
This legal blog is written by attorney Maxwell Goss. Max practices business litigation, with a focus on non-competes, trade secrets, shareholder dispute, and intellectual property.