If you're a Chicago resident and business owner who's been accused of or been a victim of defamation, you'll want to understand the intricacies of Chicago defamation law. Defamation law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it's important to receive legal advice regarding defamation from a Chicago lawyer. To better understand the nuances of Chicago defamation law, here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

What is Defamation?

Defamation is the act of making a false statement of fact to a third party which results in harm to someone else's reputation. In Chicago, defamation comes in two forms: libel (written defamation) and slander (spoken defamation). Generally, in order for a statement to be considered defamatory, it must meet two requirements: 1) False statement of fact; and 2) Harm to another person’s reputation.

What Are the Different Types of Defamation?

In Chicago, there are two main types of defamation law, libel and slander. Libel is written defamation, while slander is spoken. s of libel include circulating negative information through an email or blog article. s of slander include making a false statement about someone to the local media, or rumors talked about in public.

Which Types of Statements Are Considered Defamatory?

In Chicago, a statement is considered defamatory if it is false, harmful, and rendered with the intention to harm or recklessly disregard the consequences of its publication. The statement must be communicated to a third party and result in harm to the party's reputation.

What Are the Elements of a Defamation Claim?

In order to be successful in a defamation claim, plaintiff must prove four essential elements: 1) a false statement was made; 2) communication of the statement to a third party; 3) damage to the plaintiff's reputation; and 4) wrongfulness on the part of the defendant.

Can a Plaintiff Prove Reputation Damage Without Economic Loss?

Yes. In Chicago, a plaintiff does not need to prove economic damages in order to successfully prove reputation damages. Under defamation law, a plaintiff can win damages for non-economic losses such as emotional distress, loss of reputation, or mental anguish.

Can a Plaintiff Sue More Than One Person for Defamation?

Yes. Under Chicago defamation law, a plaintiff can sue multiple defendants who they claim are responsible for making defamatory statements about them. Depending on the evidence, a plaintiff could sue both the speaker of a defamatory statement and the publisher of the statement. The publisher could include websites, newspapers, magazines, or radio and television stations that published the defamatory statement.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Defamation?

The statute of limitations for defamation in Chicago is two years from the date the statement was made or published. After that, any claim for defamation may be considered "time-barred" and not allowed in court.

What Are Potential Defenses to Defamation?

Common defenses to a defamation claim include truth (the statement is true), consent (both parties consented to the statement being made), opinion (the statement is an expression of opinion, not a statement of fact), privilege (the statement is privileged due to special relationship between the parties or due to work product), and the statute of limitations (the claim is time-barred).


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