The law of libel and slander must find a balance between two individual rights: the First Amendment freedom of speech and the inherent right to be free from harm caused by libelous statements– and to hold others accountable for it. Attempts by the courts to strike that balance have created a complicated set of rules, exceptions and exemptions. At SMVT, we are well-versed in North Carolina’s defamation laws.
In conjunction with our media and First Amendment practice, we regularly represent clients in both counselling and litigation of defamation issues. We assist with pre-publication reviews of content that publishers might be concerned with, and help them understand the risks of publication before any lawsuits are filed.
Even the most well-researched publications occasionally offend someone, however. We also work with clients, big and small, that have been sued for libel or slander and fight diligently to defend against any liability. We have represented individuals accused of publishing libelous content on blogs and in newsletters, as well as national media conglomerates with multiple North Carolina publications. In each case, we immerse ourselves in the facts underlying the publication to ensure the client receives the best possible representation.
Occasionally, we will consider filing suit for libel or slander on behalf of a client where the facts warrant it. Our experience defending such claims helps us to accurately and realistically evaluate when action is justified.