Can I sue for defamation of character against a client?

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Can I sue for defamation of character against a client?

I work for a security company at a nightclub. The nightclub acts as the client for the company. A lost phone was returned to me as I was leaving and the next day I returned the phone back. The phone was water damaged due to an error of mine. I tried to restore it but it did not work and was told that I would need to let it dry out. The phone happened to belong to the general manager of the nightclub. He has been spreading the lie, to many people, that I intentionally stole the phone and the reason why it is restored is because I wanted to keep it. I have lost income as well because of it.

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the general manager for defamation.  Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third person who recognizes the defamatory content and the statement is injurious to your reputation.

Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is written defamation.

Each repetition of the defamatory statement is actionable in a lawsuit for defamation.   The slander falls within certain categories such as imputation of characteristics incompatible with your business, trade or profession.  It also falls within the imputation of a crime category.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for defamation) would include lost income, mental distress, loss of friends and associates resulting from the defamation, and if applicable, physical illness and medical expense.


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