Slander, Libel: Defamation Claims Rising With Social Media - Things You Need to Know about Slander and Libel Claims

Slander and libel are two sides of the same coin. Slander happens when someone says something. Libel happens when someone writes (publishes) something.  And that "something" said or written hurts another person's reputation.

Defamation isn't a crime -- but libel or slander can form the basis of a lawsuit.

It's not a crime in the United States to say or write something that hurts another person.  That's because of the free speech protections of the United States Constitution.  That doesn't mean hurting someone with words is not without consequence.  The person who has been hurt can file a lawsuit under state or federal "defamation" laws.

Together, slander and libel make up the civil action of "defamation" which is the basis of a lawsuit for personal damages. The Florida Supreme Court has recognized the explanation of defamation given in the Restatement (Second) of Torts 558B, 580A-580B which explains:

Defamation has the following five elements: (1) publication; (2) falsity; (3) actor must act with knowledge or reckless disregard as to the falsity on a matter concerning a public official, or at least negligently on a matter concerning a private person; (4) actual damages; and (5) statement must be defamatory. See Restatement (Second) of Torts §§ 558B, 580A-580B.
Jews for Jesus, Inc. v. Rapp, 997 So. 2d 1098, 1106 (Fla. 2008).
 Social Media Statements Mean More Defamation Lawsuits 

Statements made in a podcast or YouTube video (slander if said) or written (libel) in a Tweet on Twitter or a statement posted on Facebook, Google+, or any blog comment or review site are more and more often becoming the basis of defamation lawsuits across the country.

People are suing for social media defamatory statements and asking for money damages from the person who said or wrote the statements in question.  Lots of money. 

Detailed Information on Slander, Libel, and Defamation - South Florida Injury Accident Blog

This is a growing concern for many people, and for those in South Florida who are concerned about social media statements and the harm they may cause, we have begun a series of informative posts on our new injury accident blog that gives details about social media slander and libel concerns.

For more information, please check out:

New Source of South Florida Accident and Injury Info: South Florida Injury Accident Blog

Our Hallandale law firm began publishing a new blog in May 2013 dedicated to issues surrounding car accidents and personal injuries, including slip and falls claims, in Florida. 

We'd love for you to visit and share any suggestions or comments you may have on how to make this blog helpful to South Floridians and those visiting our beautiful community!

Broward County: The Foreclosure Fraud War Isn't Over, No Matter What Sweet Words Are Being Whispered In the News These Days

Wow, there's a lot of stuff in the news right now about the Florida economy, have you noticed?  There are all sorts of statistics being thrown out there and all sorts of talking head conversations about how housing may be -- or is, really and truly -- coming back.  Houses are being built again, houses are being sold again, Canadians are coming to Miami and buying lots of condos!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
This is all very nice.  Read these stories, though, and it's as if some magic wand has been waved over South Florida and everything suddenly changed. 

Wouldn't that be nice? 

However, the hard reality is that we are in a tough time and it's not going to go away as fast as anyone would like for it to do.  At least, that's the viewpoint of those practicing foreclosure defense law in Florida these days.

Will it get better? Eventually, sure.  

For anyone who is thinking about his or her pending foreclosure here in Florida - particularly in Broward County - things are pretty complicated right now. 

Same is true for those in Broward or the surrounding area that are underwater on their homes or condos, or that are trying to negotiate a short sale of their home.

It's the smart Florida home owner that investigates the situation and plans for the future as if they were strategizing on a battlefield... because, well, they are.  The Foreclosure Fraud War isn't over, folks.

For details, check out today's post over at AboutFloridaLaw, it's filled with links and law stuff.

Sharpie Party in South Florida: Vandalizing Foreclosure Homes in Broward County May Be Sweet Revenge But It's Also a Serious Crime

Photo by Amusafija May 2009
Seems that there is a movie which has risen to cult status among teens in the United States today - it's called Project X - and the crux of the movie is a party which gets very, very out of control.  Funny stuff happens.  Teen angst, teen love, teen drinking, you get the idea.

American Graffiti for the 21st Century, maybe.

Problem is that in parts of the country, these big parties, where thousands of guests appear after being invited on Twitter or Facebook, aren't just kids gone wild anymore.  Nope.

Now, it seems, Project X parties -- called Sharpie Parties because guests are greeted at the door with a highlighter -- are being used as a way to take revenge on banks who have foreclosed on homes.  That's right: vandalism as a message.

Except any Florida homeowner, no matter how understandable his rage and anger, is committing a crime by organizing a Sharpie Party at his foreclosure address.  And yes, this can include felony charges.

For details, please read all about these new Revenge Parties on Banks in our post on About Florida Law.

Are Citizens Home Insurance Premium Hikes Becoming a Financial Disaster of Hurricane Proportions for Florida? Scary but True.

Hurricane Andrew hits Miami: FEMA image

Right now, Citizens is a government run, non profit insurance company that pretty much provides home insurance coverage for all of South Florida.  After Hurricane Andrew hit Miami (see that FEMA photo to the right, most of the area looked a lot like that), many insurance companies pulled out of Florida.

Their argument?  Insurance companies are for-profit concerns and hurricanes like Andrew could, and would, bankrupt them.  So, they pulled up their skirts and ran far away.

Citizens filled that gap, and many were (and are) grateful.  Problem is, Citizens is pulling lots of stuff now that means insurance premiums are skyrocketing.  People are seeing their annual premiums almost double.

This hurts you, me, almost everyone.  How and why?  Read the details over at AboutFloridaLaw including what people are doing about this, and what your options are.

Florida Bank Slapped by Florida Appeals Court: No Evidence of Fair Market Value Means Bank's Deficiency Judgment Nixed

Florida Condos: Public Domain Image
For those of you who aren't big fans of Florida banks who foreclose on people's homes, here is a good story for you....

The Second District Court of Appeal in Florida tossed out the huge deficiency judgment that Liberty Bank had on some condos recently, in a big way.  

Apparently the bank didn't bother to get appraisals of the condos at the time of the foreclosure sale, they just figured that the appraisals they had that were six months old at the time were good enough.

The appellate judges agreed with the condo owners that nope, those January appraisals weren't good enough to use to calculate fair market value of the property in the following June, and sent the whole thing back to the trial court for more number crunching.

Liberty Bank, by the way, foreclosed on 9 condos.  Liberty Bank bought all of them at the foreclosure sale for $800,100 (that's less than $100K per condo).  Then Liberty Bank got a deficiency judgment of approximately $2.7 million after selling off 7 of the 9 condos after the foreclosure. 

Anyone else interested to see what amount the new appraisals value these condos?


Deficiency Amount on Short Sale Will Be Taxed as Income Beginning January 1, 2013 Absent Congress Acting. What Does This Mean to You and Your Broward County Short Sale?

The Taxman Cometh .... Broward County along with the rest of Florida seems to make the news on a regular basis with the latest stats and numbers on foreclosures (we have a lot) and short sales (ditto).  Lots of Florida home owners and condo owners are dealing with some really tight money situations and they're having to make hard calls on what to do about their mortgages.

Especially if they are really, really underwater.  Even more so if the bank is threatening foreclosure or has already started the foreclosure process.  It's tough out there.

Heck, even the Broward County Commissioner, Chip LaMarca, is facing losing his home to foreclosure.

So, it's difficult but necessary to throw more wood on this fire right now.  Why?  Broward County real estate owners need to know this.  Every Florida home owner who is thinking about short selling their home needs to be aware of a big, fat deadline just six months down the road.

Here it is.  December 31, 2012.

If you don't have a closed short sale by midnight on New Year's Eve of this year, then any deficiency on the sale of your home is going to be counted as income.  You will be expected to pay income tax on the amount of the deficiency - that's because the tax exemption is expiring by its own terms at the end of this year.

Unless Congress does something between now and then.

So, get moving.  Act fast.  Short selling your home just got lots more important, right?

For more, read our posts over at About Florida Law with all the details and the links.

Image:  Wikimedia Commons public image.