Defamation and Slander Laws Michigan
Defamation is a civil wrong that happens when someone spreads false and harmful statements about another individual, causing damage to reputation. There are two types of defamation: libel occurs when a statement is in writing or posted online, and slander occurs when the statement is spoken or gestured. To establish a defamation case, libel or slander must have been publicized, creating harm to the subject’s reputation, opportunities, and even physical or mental health.
As a response to this serious crime, many can choose to draft a cease and desist letter, commanding the individual making injurious claims to cease before further legal action is taken. Learn more about defamation and how to understand the state of Michigan’s particular laws, below.
How Does Michigan Define Defamation?
Identifying slander versus libel
The two aspects of defamation are slander and libel:
- Libel is typically identified by the fact that it always maintains a permanent record, such as an email, radio or TV broadcast, newspaper article, or website posting
- Slander is impermanent, leaving no record, and can be as simple as a spoken statement or a hand gesture
Identifying the type of defamation that occurred is the first way to prove any defamation claim and establishing whether you can send a cease and desist letter as a result of slander in the state of Michigan.
What isn't considered defamation in Michigan?
Oftentimes, proving defamation seems like an easy process, but unfortunately, there are certain facets of the law in place that aim to prevent claims from being identified as slander or libel:
Any statements of opinion are not defamatory
- Any statement of opinion cannot be defamatory, as there is no “truth” in an opinion.
- A clause exists; if a defamatory statement is not identified as an opinion and is published, you might potentially have the grounds to sue for slander or libel.
You have a right to freedom of speech
- Concerning the American First Amendment, any individual has a right to not be subjected to falsehoods and lies that defame and maim their character.
- Truthfully speaking, defamation is not illegal by legal terms. Defamation is a pretense of the legal system to afford damages to people who have been affected by freedom of speech legislation and freedoms.
Defamation and false light can be different
- A false light claim comes to light when a defamatory statement about an individual is published, with the implication that the statement is valid when it is false.
- False light is maintained to “protect the plaintiff's mental and emotional well-being” rather than reputation, which defamation strives to cover.
Disparagement is different from defamation
- Disparagement protects the financial and economic interests of the plaintiff or their products, safeguarding economic gains and financial bounds.
- Defamation protects personal interests, however, disparagement synthesizes more extra-personal boundaries, such as property ownership and non-liquid assets.
Defamation in Michigan
In Michigan, the law states that the aspects of a typical defamation claim are:
|A forged statement||A false statement was disclosed about the plaintiff|
|A wrongful publication||A publication to a third party concerning the plaintiff|
|A fault by the defendant||Negligence on behalf of the defendant in the case|
|Significant damage||The disclosure caused significant damages, concerning the plaintiff’s life and livelihood, including relationships, physical/mental health (general damages), and more|
Defamation per se in Michigan
In Michigan, certain statements will always be considered defamatory, including saying that the plaintiff has:
- Committed a crime
- A communicable disease
- A lack of integrity with work
- A lack of general ability, otherwise harming them professionally
- Engaged in adultery
Defenses Against Defamation Laws in Michigan
Michigan views three defenses as valid against defamation, slander, and libel cases:
- Truth – Concerning a true statement being released to the public, this cannot be considered as defamation.
- Opinion – As aforementioned, opinion has no “truth” or “lie” so it is considered to not be defamation if you are stating your opinion.
- General Reporting – To protect freedom of the press, general reporting cannot be identified as slander or libel, or even categorized as defamation itself — the press has the freedom to report, and Michigan aims to protect that right.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Writing a Cease and Desist Letter?
- In sum, writing a cease and desist letter is a tricky process that can discredit your case, if not done conducted properly.
- If you can’t legally prove the damages that you’ve suffered, outline all components of corresponding evidence from a legal standpoint, and put together a legally sound letter, you may run the risk of your letter being discarded and even being unsuccessful if you go to court.
- In addition to this, many lawyers who are capable of drafting cease and desist letters that charge an exorbitant amount of money for even writing a response to your inquiries!
DoNotPay Can Create a Cease and Desist Letter for You!
DoNotPay is a simple and convenient solution! The cease and desist letter DoNotPay drafts will detail the information about the case, demand retraction, warn against future statements, and will order that the accused abides by Michigan state statutes.
All you need to do is:
1. Search "defamation" on DoNotPay and select the Defamation Demand Letters product.
2. Tell us about your situation:
- Were the statements slander or libel?
- What were the statements?
- Why are they false or misleading?
- What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?
3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will immediately generate a formal demand letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.
That’s it! You can expect a cease and desist letter drafted instantly!
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