What are the damages for defamation?

Asked by: Lura Jones  |  Last update: December 17, 2023
Score: 4.2/5 (41 votes)

In defamation cases, the damages that a jury may award to individuals or corporations include:
  • Damage to the plaintiff's reputation.
  • Specific economic damages, such as loss of employment or profits.
  • Punitive damages, if the defendant's conduct was oppressive, malicious or fraudulent.

How are damages calculated in a defamation case?

Judges and juries have not set formula for calculating presumed damages. Under California law, for example, in defamation per se cases, jurors are instructed to award “whatever sum you believe is reasonable.” (California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), 1704 (2022).)

What are general damages for defamation?

General damages: The compensation for the past and future harm sustained to reputation in the community as well as mental or emotional anguish and personal humiliation. Special damages: The compensation for specific economic loss caused by the defamation.

What are punitive damages for defamation?

Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for outrageously bad conduct. Punitive damages are available in some defamation cases. Plaintiffs typically have to show that the defendant acted with actual malice.

What is the largest defamation settlement?

The largest judgment in a US defamation case was awarded against Alex Jones in 2022 – $965 million for propagating false conspiracy theories about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

What type of damages can I recover in a defamation claim?

36 related questions found

What 4 things must a plaintiff show to win a defamation lawsuit?

To prove prima facie defamation, a plaintiff must show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the reputation of the person or entity who is the subject ...

Who decides damages in defamation?

In defamation cases, the damages that a jury may award to individuals or corporations include: Damage to the plaintiff's reputation. Specific economic damages, such as loss of employment or profits. Punitive damages, if the defendant's conduct was oppressive, malicious or fraudulent.

How hard is it to win a defamation of character lawsuit?

It can be difficult to win a defamation case because it can sometimes be hard to prove a false statement caused actual damages.

What is the burden of proof in a defamation case?

The burden of proof for a defamation case rests on the plaintiff. This means the person who was the subject of the false statement must prove these four elements for a successful case. As with most civil cases, the plaintiff must demonstrate these elements true by a preponderance of evidence.

What is the test for defamation?

A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant. Defences may be based on truth, public interest, privilege or honest opinion.

What is the burden of proof for slander?

As the plaintiff (the accusing), the burden of proof falls on you to prove the defendant (the accused) did what you're claiming. Additionally, slandering is considered a “tort“, which is a civil wrong, rather than a criminal one.

How do you calculate damages?

Such damage is typically measured by the difference between the value to the aggrieved party of the performance that should have been received and the value to that party of what, if anything, actually was received by it from the party in breach.

Who pays for a defamation case?

"Costs" in a Defamation Case

If you are a plaintiff, a big advantage in hiring a lawyer is that the firm will usually pay most, if not all, of the litigation costs. Defamation cases can be very expensive because they are very fact-driven.

What is negligence in defamation?

If you're a private citizen, you can win a defamation case even if all you can prove is that the person who made defamatory statements about you acted negligently (in legal terms, "negligent" means something similar to "careless" or "sloppy").

How do you beat a defamation suit?

The most common defenses to defamation are: 1) truth; 2) consent; 3) privilege; and 4) the statute of limitations. Perhaps the most distinct aspect of the defamation cause of action is that falsity is required. In other words, the statement publicized about the plaintiff must be false in order to prove defamation.

How do you prove malice in defamation?

In every defamation case, a plaintiff needs to prove four things in order to win:
  1. That the allegedly defaming statement(s) in question conveyed facts (as opposed to pure opinion);
  2. That the facts it stated or implied were false;
  3. That the statement was delivered to others; and.
  4. That the plaintiff was harmed.

What is the difference between slander and defamation?

Defamation includes slander and libel. Libel is the act of defaming another person through writings, such as newspapers, other publications, articles, blogs or social media postings. Slander is the act of making a false oral statement about the character or professional standing of another person.

Does insurance cover defamation?

Homeowner's insurance typically includes coverage for claims of defamation, including libel and slander. Even if the claims may be false, the insurer can be obliged to pay for the attorneys' fees and expenses necessary to defend the claims.

What is an example of slander?

The most common examples of slander per se are:
  • Accusing the plaintiff of criminal actions.
  • Stating that the plaintiff has certain infectious diseases.
  • Making harmful statements about the plaintiff's business or occupation.

What is a false speech that damages a person's reputation?

Defamation is oral or written communication that contains false statements that injures a person's reputation.

What is the most money awarded in a lawsuit?

This lawsuit resulted in a record-breaking settlement of $206 billion, paid by major tobacco companies to 46 US states to cover public health-care costs related to tobacco-induced illnesses. It remains the most substantial legal settlement to date as of 2023.

What damages are awarded?

Compensatory damages compensate for the special loss suffered; consequential damages compensate for the foreseeable consequences of the breach; incidental damages compensate for the costs of keeping any more damages from occurring; nominal damages are awarded if the actual amount cannot be shown or there are no actual ...

What is the test for damages?

The current test for remoteness of damage is whether the kind of damage you have suffered was reasonably foreseeable by the Defendant, at the time of the breach. The test for remoteness is important in a negligence case because it can affect the outcome of a claim.

What are the 5 things a successful libel plaintiff must prove?

Here are five things you must demonstrate in order to show that you should be compensated for defamation.
  • A False Statement of Fact Was Made. ...
  • The Statement Was Communicated to a Third Party. ...
  • The Defendant Was Negligent or Acted With Absolute Malice in Determining the Truth of the Statement. ...
  • The Statement Was Not Privileged.

Are defamation cases civil or criminal?

Although libel or defamation is now primarily a civil claim, it once was primarily a criminal offense, prosecuted by the government and punishable by imprisonment or a fine.