Has your business been defamed?

Just because someone has said something negative about a business does not mean it is considered defamation. To prevail in a defamation suit a plaintiff must show (1) a false statement of fact about the plaintiff, (2) publication of that statement to a third party, (3) the defendant was negligent or acted with absolute malice in determining the truth of the statement, (4) the statement was not privileged, and (5) the statement caused some type of damage. In Virginia, statements made about a business or professional’s conduct which would injure him in his business or profession are actionable as defamation per se, which does not require proving special damages.

If you are a contractor and a bad review is written about your company, that is not necessarily defamation. The review would have to be so negative and shocking, as well as be false, to be considered defamatory. An example of a customer’s review not being defamatory would be “Bad customer service. Did not return calls or perform work.”