Defamation & Privacy Law
The Cole Law Group defamation and privacy law attorneys provide legal counsel for issues related to defamation, as well as related torts for false light invasion of privacy, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with business relationships. Attorney Todd Cole has a special interest in defamation and privacy law, and this area of the law has developed into a successful niche practice for Cole Law Group.
“The right of a man to the protection of his own reputation from unjustified invasion and wrongful hurt reflects no more than our basic concept of the essential dignity and worth of every human being—a concept at the root of any decent system of ordered liberty.” – Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (con. op., Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75)What is Defamation?
Defamation is defined as, “the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his or her reputation.” If a defamatory statement is made in writing or broadcast over the media, it is libel. If it is spoken, it is slander.
Sadly, many people today defame others in order to:
- Obtain an advantage in business.
- Seek revenge after a failed romantic relationship.
- Harm them professionally or make them subject to a baseless investigation.
- Gain attention as a “victim”.
Closely related to defamation is privacy law. Privacy laws are different, however, in that they do not protect you from false statements. Instead, they are designed to prevent sensitive, personal information from being made public. Generally speaking, privacy laws may help you if someone is:
- Threatening to publish photos / videos that may damage your reputation in the community or make you the target of threats / harassment.
- Intruding into your life or your private affairs.
- Twisting or mischaracterizing true facts in a way that makes you look bad.
- Using your name or likeness without your consent.
Privacy laws also differ from defamation in that there are more than two potential causes of action. According to the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the following are potential causes of action with possible real world examples:
- Appropriation of Another’s Name or Likeness: Someone uses your name or likeness for their own purpose or benefit.
Example: You are a member of a professional football team and a rock band decides to put your image on the cover of their next album.
- False Light Invasion of Privacy: Someone states true facts about you but in a manner that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and does so with a reckless disregard as to the falsity of the matter.
Example: You were discharged honorably from the armed forces, but a Facebook page is started suggesting your discharge was for less than honorable reasons.
- Publicity Given to Private Facts: Someone discloses private facts about you that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and of no legitimate concern to the public.
Example: A houseguest finds lab results confirming that you have an STD and posts the results to Facebook.
- Unreasonable Intrusion into Private Affairs (Intrusion Upon Seclusion): Someone has intentionally intruded, physically or otherwise, upon your private affairs or concerns.
Example: Someone has accessed your credit report online without your consent and for improper purposes.
Internet technology has aggravated the danger and potential damage caused by defamation or invasion of privacy by making it possible to disseminate falsities with incredible speed using digital media. A single defamatory Facebook post can cause you to be subjected to threats, harassment, or worse in a matter of minutes. Photos, videos, and sound recordings can also be broadcast to thousands with a single click of a mouse.
Some of the websites that our Nashville defamation & privacy lawyers have worked with to remove content that was either defamatory or constituted an invasion of privacy includes the following:
- Report Cheating Online
It is important to note that not all states recognize all the torts listed above. In addition, a Defendant’s liability, and whether it is necessary for a Plaintiff to “prove up” damages, may also vary. If you believe that you may have a cause of action for Defamation or Invasion of Privacy, it is very important to have your matter properly evaluated by an attorney licensed in the appropriate jurisdiction.
When your reputation, your honor, your livelihood, and potentially your personal safety is on the line, you want a law firm that will act quickly and with the expertise necessary to handle what are often delicate situations. At Cole Law Group, our experienced defamation and privacy attorneys in Nashville will work with you to identify your priorities and devise a strategy for accomplishing your goal, whether it is to have a Facebook post removed, to recover monetary damages, or to stop someone from invading your privacy.
It often take years to build a respectable reputation for yourself and/or your business. However, it only takes seconds for someone else to tear it down. When an individual tells a destructive lie about you to others that degrades your hard earned reputation, you can easily lose all the benefits of this hard work, including all the future earnings or personal relationships that come along with having built a solid reputation. When you are defamed, you are entitled to relief in the form of monetary damages to recompense you for the financial losses you have sustained as a result of the defamatory statement(s) and/or injunctive relief aimed at putting an end to the defamation.
Help begins with a conversation. If you believe that you have been defamed and/or cast in a false light by the words of another, call our Nashville defamation and privacy law attorneys at (615) 490-6020 or send a message via our Contact page to schedule a consultation.