Understanding Defamation of Character Arizona
Defamation occurs when a statement is published that harms a person’s reputation. You can sue a person or a business if you think they seriously damaged your reputation with a defamatory statement or comment. However, you should keep in mind that going to court will have certain expenses and you will have to spend a lot of time on it. That is why you should first consider sending a cease and desist letter to the person who made the defamatory statement.
Elements to Know About Defamation of Character Laws in Arizona
The tort of defamation includes two categories:
|Libel||A written publication of a defamatory statement.|
|Slander||Spoken words of a defamatory statement.|
The Uniform Single Publication Act in Arizona allows only one cause of action for a single publication. Even if several people have read the publication, a plaintiff will only be entitled to establish one cause of action against the defendant, who published the defamatory statement.
Required Elements of a Defamation Claim in Arizona
|False and Defamatory Statement||A publication must be untrue and bring the defamed person into discredit, contempt, or ridicule or impeach the person’s honesty, integrity or reputation to be considered defamatory.
Defamatory statements must be statements of facts or point to facts on which an opinion is founded for a defamation claim to occur.
|Concerning the Plaintiff||The plaintiff must be the subject of the claimed defamatory statements.|
|Knowledge of Statement’s Falsity||To be responsible for the defamation, the defendant must have been aware of the falsehood of the defamatory statement.|
|Reckless Disregard of Statement’s Truth||To effectively prove the reckless threshold, a plaintiff must present evidence to support the conclusion that the defendant had serious questions about the truth of his statement.|
|Negligent in Ascertaining the Statement’s Truth||Negligence is defined as behavior that places an unreasonable risk of harm to others. It is the failure to use the level of caution that a reasonable person would exercise in similar situations.|
|Damages||To recover a defamation claim, the plaintiff must show that the defamatory remark caused actual damage.
Only in cases of per se defamation, the proof of damage is not required.
Per se defamation
Defamation per se cases do not require any proof of damage because they are considered harmful in themselves. Some examples are:
- statements charging the private individual of a crime
- statements about the individual having sexually transmitted disease
- statements about the individual being morally corrupt
Defenses to a Defamation Claim
There are a few most common defenses that are used to defend against a defamation claim.
The reasoning for absolute privilege is based on the idea that certain people, because of their particular position or status, should be as free as possible from worry that their acts in that position may harm their interests. So, absolute privilege defends the speaker from any defamation claims.
A qualified privilege does not protect the speaker as an absolute privilege does. Regarding the protection of the defamed person’s reputation, the speaker’s interest is of an intermediate degree of importance. So, a qualified privilege allows for a balance between the competing interests of the parties.
An absolute defense to a defamation claim exists if the defamatory remark is substantially truthful.
A pure opinion about the plaintiff would not constitute a defamation case in Arizona. The statement must be written or spoken as a fact.
Why Should You Write a Cease and Desist Letter?
You should write and serve a cease and desist letter to the person or business who made the defamatory statement. However, you need to make sure that you have a strongly worded letter so that the defendant will have an idea about how serious you are. DoNotPay can help you compose the letter! All you have to do is:
1. Search for Defamation Demand Letters on DoNotPay’s website.
2. Answer the following questions: Was it slander or libel? What was the defamatory statement and how was it false? What are your damages?
3. Based on your state’s defamation laws, DoNotPay will generate you a customized cease and desist letter.
Done! DoNotPay will write you a professional and powerful cease and desist letter for you to send to the person who made the statement.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
DoNotPay is your personal assistant and lawyer in one app! Have another legal issue? DoNotPay can help you with:
- Neighborhood complaints
- Stalking and harassment
- Robocall compensation
- Sue anyone in small claims court
- Notarize documents