Making a Michigan Defamation Claim

Making a Michigan Defamation Claim

by / Thursday, 30 January 2014 / Published in Goodwin & Scieszka

Defamation encompasses both libel and slander. A libelous statement is written and a slanderous statement is spoken, but both fall under the broader category known as defamation. Defamatory statements can happen in person, behind your back, or online.

What does it take to prevail on a defamation claim? In Michigan, someone pleading defamation must prove:

Close-up on Michael Jackson's face

1) That the defendant made a defamatory statement that identified the plaintiff;
A statement is defamatory if it adversely affects reputation
b. Name calling is not defamation
c. The victim must be alive at the time the statement was made (i.e. Michael Jackson has no causes of action)

2) That the statement was published intentionally or recklessly
Publishing a statement means that it is communicated to anyone except the person being defamed

3) And damages
Depending on the type of claim: slander per se, slander not per se, and libel, then there might be a presumption regarding damages.

Libel and slander per se – statements regarding 1) the plaintiff’s business; 2) that the plaintiff committed a serious crime of moral turpitude; 3) a statement imputing unchastity to a woman, or 4) a statement about a loathsome disease that the plaintiff has.

Goodwin & Scieszka has been handling Michigan intentional tort claims for over 30 years. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact our Southfield, MI firm and let us fight for the recovery you deserve. We handle any and all person injury claims:

Call today and let us fight for the recovery you deserve.

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  • William Peart

    I am a high school teacher in Michigan working as a permanent substitute. Within my school, there is a vacancy for a teacher. Several students that I was helping repeatedly asked me to apply for the job. Each time, I said I would do whatever I could to help and nothing more. Two of the girls then went to see the department head.
    The department head then went to the building principal falsely saying that I was ‘bad mouthing’ the other teachers in the department (never have, never would). The principal confronted me and I responded that the principal could check with these two girls (thus showing that the department head was lying). I gave her the names of the two girls. She refused to follow up. (She and the department head are good friends btw). I have all of this in email exchange and in my personnel file, which I copied.
    I have been warned that my yearly contract probably won’t be renewed. Do I have a defamation case? Can I sue the school and principal for refusing to investigate?
    William Peart