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Defamation: Libel and Slander

When someone’s words cause actual harm to someone’s livelihood or reputation, the person harmed can sue for defamation. The terms defamation, libel, and slander are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different things. At The Soto Law Office, P.A. in Altamonte Springs, our experienced civil litigation attorneys are here to help you sort through your legal options if someone is making false claims about you or claiming that you are doing so yourself. If you would like to learn more, call or contact our office to schedule a consultation of your case today.

What is Defamation?

Defamation occurs when one party makes a negligent or intentionally false statement about another to a third party that results in actual damage. How that statement is made determines whether the defamation is considered libel or slander. Typically, a defamatory statement accuses the party at issue of something that would cause scorn, contempt, disgrace, or hatred amongst the community that is not true. Importantly, defamation must be a declaration of a false statement of fact, not an opinion.


Libel is a defamatory statement that is written and disseminated to a third party. A libelous writing can be made on paper or digitally online. It can be sent in a text message or any other form of written medium. While both forms of defamation are serious matters, the court typically takes claims of libel more seriously, as a written medium has more lasting power than the spoken word.


Slander is a defamatory statement that is spoken out loud to a third party. Slander can occur when something is spoken to a single person that ultimately impacts the object of the slander in a harmful way, or it can be spoken to multiple third parties all at once through a medium like the television, radio, podcast, or other spoken format. For both libel and slander, the most effective defense against claims of defamation is that the statement made was truthful.

Call or Contact Our Office

Do you have more questions about the differences between libel and slander or what to do about a defamation case? If so, the knowledgeable civil litigation attorneys at The Soto Law Office are here to help. Call or contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more.


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