Business Disparagement Vs. Defamation: What’s the Difference?
What is the difference between business disparagement and defamation in Texas? These two legal matters are relatively similar, and it is important for business owners to understand the elements of each. If you believe you have been the victim of business disparagement or defamation, an aggressive Texas business disputes attorney can assist with your case.
Understanding the Difference Between Business Disparagement and Defamation
Both business disparagement and defamation concern the spread of false information that causes harm. However, the distinction primarily revolves around the target of the harm.
In a business disparagement case, the false assertion harms the economic interests of the business.
In a defamation case, the false assertion harms the reputation of an individual (who may be a business owner, for instance).
In the Texas Supreme Court case of Forbes v. Granada Biosciences (2003), the court clarified that “the two torts differ in that defamation actions chiefly serve to protect the personal reputation of an injured party, while a business disparagement claim protects economic interests.”
Elements of a Business Disparagement Lawsuit
In Forbes, the Texas Supreme Court clarifies that there are four elements of a business disparagement claim. According to the court, the plaintiff must be able to show:
- Defendant published false and disparaging information about the business;
- Defendant acted with malice;
- Defendant acted without privilege; and
- Defendant’s actions resulted in special damages to the plaintiff.
The statute of limitations for a business disparagement claim is two years.
Elements of a Defamation Lawsuit
The elements of a defamation claim are clarified in the Texas Supreme Court case of WFAA-TV v. McLemore (1998). According to the court, in a defamation case, a plaintiff must be able to show:
- Publication of a false statement to a third party;
- Statement defamed the plaintiff; and
- Requisite degree of fault.
In some cases, a plaintiff must be able to prove damages. There is a one-year statute of limitations in defamation claims. If another party’s false statements harmed you and more than one year has passed, if those statements affected your economic interests as a business, you still may be eligible to file a business defamation lawsuit.
Contact a Texas Business Disparagement Attorney
If you were harmed as a result of business disparagement or defamation, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. An experienced business defamation lawyer in Texas can analyze your case and discuss your options for moving forward. Contact Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP today.