Florida Defamation Per Se Laws Explained
If you are in Florida and a person publishes a false statement about you that causes you serious harm and damages your reputation, then you have the right to pursue legal action. These statements are considered a defamation of character and can cause monetary losses, loss of business opportunities, and can lead to emotional distress.
This article will explain the defamation laws in Florida and the elements that make a statement defamatory. The article will introduce you to DoNotPay, a fast and reliable service that drafts formal letters for defamation on your behalf!
Defamation and Distinguishing Between Slander and Libel
Defamation occurs when a person publishes false and derogatory statements about an individual to a third party without privilege and causes harm and damage to that person’s reputation.
The person polishing the statement must act with negligence, such that he or she knew the statement was not true or did not attempt to question its truthfulness before communicating it.
There are two subcategories of defamation: slander and libel.
- Libel refers to written or published defamatory statements that leave a permanent record. It is most commonly found in newspapers, books, blogs, magazines, and social media. The general punishment for libel includes monetary fines, and in some cases where it is defamation per se, the punishment is imprisonment.
- Slander refers to spoken defamatory statements that are temporary and not tangible in form. Slander most commonly occurs in gossip, daily conversations.
Florida’s Elements of Defamation
If you want to file a defamation suit in Florida, plaintiffs are required to prove that the statements made about them followed these five specific elements to successfully recover damages. They are:
- The statement was published such that a third party had access to it
- The statement was false
- The defendant published the statement with the knowledge or reckless disregard as to the falsity of the matter
- There must be actual damages that were caused by the statement
- The Statement must have been defamatory.
Florida’s Pleading Standard for Defamation
Pleadings are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which outline the requirements for plaintiffs and defendants during a civil lawsuit. Pleadings are formal written statements that outline each party’s claims and arguments in a lawsuit. The laws and rules of pleadings change depending on the state where the lawsuit is filed and you should familiarize yourself with the laws of your states before filing a defamation claim.
The most common pleading standard in the US follows these steps.
- Complaint: The first written statement filed by the plaintiff, initiating legal action for the defamation claim. Complaints describe the plaintiff’s claims, positions against the defendant, and request compensation for the damages.
- Answer: The defendant’s response to the plaintiff’s complaint, where they either admit or deny the claims alleged by the plaintiff and argue why a plaintiff’s case shouldn’t succeed, and include their defenses for the defamation complaint.
- Counterclaim: Counterclaims are filed by the defendant to offset another claim brought by the plaintiff during the pleadings.
- Reply: The plaintiff’s response to the defendant’s answer, and sometimes occurs after the counterclaim is
Florida defamation plaintiffs have to adhere to the following requirements:
- Plead a short and simple statement of fact
- Their plea must demonstrate their entitlement for relief
- Their plea should include the alleged defamatory words used or published
Florida Defamation Per Se
There are four types of statements that are seen as defamatory per se in Florida, they are:
- Allegations that a person committed a felony
- Allegations that a person suffers from a disease
- Allegations that a person is unfit for business and is unable to work, or incompetent in their position
- Allegations of unchastity
Florida Statute of Limitation
A statute of limitation determines how long Florida defamation plaintiffs have to put forth their claim. This statute exists for three fundamental reasons:
- To encourage plaintiffs to pursue legal action with reasonable care and diligence,
- To prevent evidence and supporting documents and materials needed by a defendant from being lost or destroyed
In Florida, the statute of limitation for both libel and slander actions is two years.
Florida’s Statute of Limitation Compared to the Other States
Each state has its statute of limitation for defamation, it usually lies between one to three years. You must familiarize yourself with the statute of limitation for defamation for the individual state you live in before you file a defamation complaint. The following table shows the statute of limitation for 6 states in the United States.
|State||Statute of Limitation|
|South Carolina||Two Years|
|New York||Two Years|
|New Hampshire||Three Years|
Florida Single Publication Rule
The “Single Publication Rule” is a legal doctrine that governs the defamation statutes of limitations in all states. Under the single publication rule, the plaintiff is only allowed to file one defamation claim for each mass publication of a defamatory statement made by another person. Florida follows the single publication rule.
Let DoNotPay Create a Defamation Cease and Desist Letter for You
DoNotPay can draft a convincing cease and desist letter for you in accurate details, specific to your case. It is a reliable and fast service that can deliver you results while you are in the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is follow these three simple steps:
1. Find the Defamation Demand Letters product on DoNotPay.
2. Explain your situation, include whether the false statements made were libel or slander, list the statements and explain why they are false, and outline the consequences you have suffered as a result.
3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will generate a formal demand letter on your behalf with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.
That is it! It is important that DoNotPay will ask you for information about the person you will send the letter to, but will not send the letter on your behalf.
This cease and desist letter will not ask for compensation, but will warn that if they do not revoke the statement, they will take them to court and seek monetary damages.
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