Can a business sue for slander due to a negative review on a website?

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Can a business sue for slander due to a negative review on a website?

Asked on August 8, 2013 under Business Law, Iowa

Answers:

Maury Beaulier / MinnesotaLawyers.com

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Defamation in writing is referred to as Libel, whereasa slander is spoken satements.  the answer is "yes" - a business may sue for defamation if the statement published is false or made in reckeless disregard of the truth.  Certain types of speech, however, is protected, including opinion.  Accordingly, where the statement is defamatory would depend on its content and how it is presented.   

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes it can but these lawsuits are difficult; they present a conflict between freedom of speech and a company's good name and image. That having been said, freedom of speech does not extend to defamatory statements. Since a defamation action must be based on a false statement in order for the writer (or speaker) to be held liable, attorneys advise writers of reviews to stick to opinions and/or the facts. Otherwise, a business can hold them legally liable for any damages suffered as a result of a misrepresentation or outright lie.

An attorney should be consulted directly on this matter. If a company's reputation has suffered, it may well have legal recourse, depending on the specifics of the situation.


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