The definition of defamation under Texas law is a false statement that harms another person's reputation. Defamation can be based on written, published, or oral communications. In Texas, there are two types of defamation actions - defamation per se and defamation per quod. Both have different levels of proof. For both, the plaintiff must establish a level of fault, and the amount of fault will depend on the type of defamatory statement.
Defamation can be classified as speech that causes damage to the reputation of the other party, such as in the workplace or in public. The first type of defamation case is based on a speech or article that is intended to harm the other party. The second type is based on a public communication that the defendant wished to prevent others from doing business with the plaintiff. In either type of defamation case, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was true and that the statement was intended to harm the other party.
In Texas, however, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some cases, a person may not be a public figure unless they are a public figure. A public figure is a person who achieves widespread fame and is used in a wide variety of contexts. While these cases involve celebrities and politicians, a private figure may be protected under the Texas defamation law. This is a type of case where actual malice was not involved, and the plaintiff may be able to recover damages based on negligent statements.
In addition, Texas defamation cases can involve limited or public figures. For example, an actor must prove actual malice when making a statement that was intended to harm a celebrity. This means the person has to be aware of the statement's truthfulness and purposefully misrepresent it. If the statement was made with reckless disregard for its truth, it can still be considered a false statement. A public figure includes a police officer or a SEC employee. A court-appointed child psychologist can also sue a celebrity for defamation.
Free speech protections in Texas were significantly scaled by the legislature. The legislature created a grey area that will make it difficult to define a 'free speech' claim. Additionally, it created a mechanism for denying a lawsuit and awarding mandatory attorneys' fees to the aggressor. This is a huge loss for anyone seeking to protect their reputation. The Legislature has made Texas defamation law more difficult to interpret.
It's essential to act quickly if a defamation claim arises. While Texas defamation law does not protect anonymous speech, many people have experienced negative effects from online statements. While it's important to make an informed decision and act quickly, a delay can only lead to further defamation. Fortunately, Texas has a one-year statute of limitations that allows you to file a defamation lawsuit.