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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

What a plaintiff must prove in a defamation case

When someone in Michigan says something false and harmful about you or your business, that individual may be guilty of defamation. Libel and slander are common terms that come up in defamation cases, but they have different meanings and implications.

According to PBS, someone may be guilty of libel if they make public and defamatory statements about you or your business that make their way to a broadcast or publication. An individual may be guilty of slander if they make verbal statements about you that are more fleeting in nature. In general, if you decide to file a lawsuit against someone alleging that he or she defamed you, you need to be able to show that the following are true.

That the statement identified you

There are various things you must prove in a defamation case, and one of them is that the harmful statement identified you. It might have done so by showcasing your image, or it might have done so by describing you through recognizable characteristics.

That the statement caused you harm

You also need to demonstrate how the defamatory statement made against you caused you harm. For example, if the false statement alleged that you committed some type of lewd or criminal act, you need to show how that wound up hurting you personally, costing you financially or both.

That the person making the statement had ill intent

Another thing you need to prove in a defamation case is that the person who made the false statement about you had some degree of ill intent when making the statement. How much ill intent you have to prove depends on whether you are a private citizen or a public figure.

While these are some of the things you may need to demonstrate in a defamation case, this is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all the things you must showcase.