Defamation Litigation

Slander is the spoken, rather written, statement of a false, disparaging accusation or allegation. The defamation lawyers at Taylor Dunham LLP have been engaged on many occasions by individuals and companies who have seen their reputations, standings in the community and good names damaged by false, disparaging statements. The trial attorneys at Taylor Dunham LLP have experience handling cases of slander through trial and on appeal. One of THE leading Texas appellate opinions on defamation law is a case that we handled through trial and appeal. Debby Wilie v. KJFK, Shamrock Communications, Inc. and Bill Simonson; Cause No. 98-07677; 261 st District Court of Travis County, Texas (represented plaintiff in defamation and invasion of privacy case against radio station; verdict for plaintiff $455,000; judgment affirmed on appeal, see Shamrock Communications, Inc. d/b/a KJFK v. Wilie, No. 03-99-00852-CV, 2000 WL 1825501 (Tex. App.—Austin Dec. 14, 2000, pet. denied) (not designated for publication)).

There are certain slanderous statements that the law considers to be so harmful that there is no requirement that the slandered person actually prove damages; instead, the law will presume the damage. This form of slander is called slander per se and applies to the following types of defamatory statements: (1) accusations that someone has committed a crime; (2) attacks on a person's professional or business character or standing; (3) allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease and (4) statements that a person is impotent or want of chastity.

In the business context, false and disparaging statements that target a business or its goods and services are also illegal and give rise to a cause of action for business slander. Businesses who are defamed may recover the economic loss caused by the slander.

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