In the business world, it is almost inevitable that you will come across someone who is not happy with your products or services, or with a business arrangement you had with them. It is normal for people to tell others if they are not satisfied. It is also understandable if you or other Las Vegas business owners are upset about negative things that are said about your companies. Is there a line that can be drawn between free speech and libel or slander?

Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute defines slander as spoken statements and libel as written statements that cause damage to a person or company. Libel or slander may hurt reputations or have a negative financial impact. As you can imagine, having your business be the target of libel or slander could be devastating. In order for a libel or slander case to hold up in court, you would need to prove that the other party deliberately made a false statement, that third parties (potential customers or the general public) saw or heard the false statements and that you or your business suffered damages as a result.

With the widespread presence of social media, it may be easier than ever for your company to be affected by defamatory statements. Someone might go to Facebook, Twitter or an online review site and post untrue remarks about your business, which could in turn influence other clients to go elsewhere. There is, however, a difference between libel and negative reviews that are honest, which we will discuss next week. The information in this blog should not take the place of advice from a lawyer.