Defamation of Character, Maryland
If you live in Maryland and a person publishes a false statement about you to a third party, misrepresenting your character and causing serious harm to your reputation, then you have the right to take legal action. Statements of such nature are illegal as they are considered defamation and can cause financial losses, anxiety disorder, loss of business opportunities, unemployment, and loss of income.
This article will explain the elements of defamation in Maryland and what you can do if you are facing defamation. The article will also introduce you, DoNotPay, a robot lawyer that can generate a cease and desist letter for you!
Defamation and The Types of Defamation
Defamation is a false statement published to a third party that causes serious harm to your reputation. There are two types of defamation: libel and slander. Libel refers to written defamatory remarks, and slander refers to spoken defamatory remarks. It is also possible for a person to face online defamation on websites and social media platforms.
Difference Opinion and Defamation?
There is a critical legal difference in defamation law between defaming someone and simply stating an opinion. An imperative part of a defamation case is that the person who has made the false statement has to have made it with a certain kind of intention. The person must have known that it is untrue and/or disregarded the truth, such that the person questioned its truthfulness but said it regardless. However, if that person is stating their opinion on something that can never be empirically proven true or false, then it is not defamation.
Maryland Defamation Law
In Maryland, defamation is defined as a false, harmful statement about a person that is communicated to a third party.
Elements of Defamation in Maryland
|Falsity||The statement must be false|
|Statement of Fact||It must be presented as a fact about the plaintiff. If it is not presented as a fact, then it can be classified as an opinion|
|Publication||The statement must be communicated to a third party, if it is communicated directly to the plaintiff, and no one else, then it is not defamatory|
|Fault in Making the Statement||The statement must be made in negligence, such that the person questioned its truthfulness but still published it|
|Damage||The statement must have caused material damages to the plaintiff|
Defamation Defenses in Maryland
Each defamation case has its own set of facts, which play a significant role in the outcome. In Maryland, the following defense arguments are generally the only ones that have worked for defamation defendants:
- Truth, substantiated by facts
- Protected Opinion
- Fair Reporting
- No Harm Intended by the Defendant
- No Negligence by the Defendant
- Lack of Intent
Defamation Per Se in Maryland
Maryland allows a plaintiff to file defamation suits under a provision known as defamation per se.
Defamation per se means that the statement that was published is inherently defamatory, as it is so harmful and damaging that it cannot be defended.
- Allegations of criminal behavior
- Allegations of incompetence in profession
- Allegations of unchastity
- Allegations of a loathsome disease
In defamation per se cases, the plaintiff does not have to prove actual damages to win.
Damages Awarded for Defamation in Maryland
In Maryland, successful slander and libel plaintiffs can be compensated for the following types of damages:
- Actual damages
- Punitive damages
- Other case-specific damages awarded by the court.
The Statute of Limitation for Defamation in Maryland
The statute of limitation for defamation in Maryland is one year. This means that the plaintiff has one year to file a defamation complaint or to sue the defendant after the defamatory statements were made public. The statute of limitation for defamation varies between states.
The following table compares the statute of limitations for defamation between the different states in the U.S.
|State||Statute of Limitation for Defamation|
What Can You Do If You Are Facing Defamation?
If you are facing defamation, you can file a lawsuit or defamation complaint against the person publishing the defamatory statements. However, before taking such drastic measures, you can draft a cease and desist letter.
A cease and desist letter warns the defendant that if they do not stop their alleged illegal activities, then you will file a lawsuit to seek compensation for monetary damages. This is when the pleadings begin.
DoNotPay’s Cease and Desist Letter
DoNotPay is a reliable and affordable service that can draft a cease and desist letter on your behalf, specific to your case and with all the relevant laws. All you need to do is follow these four simple steps.
1. Search Defamation on DoNotPay.
2. Explain your situation, including whether the false statements made were libel or slander, the statements, and an explanation as to why they are false.
3. Based on your location, in this case, Maryland, DoNotPay will generate a formal demand letter containing the appropriate state legislation on defamation.
That is it! DoNotPay does the work for you, and you can expect a copy of your cease and desist letter on your phone or computer!