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Business Disparagement and Defamation

Phoenix Business Disparagement and Defamation Lawyers Protect Commercial Reputations

Arizona business law firm defends companies from maliciously false statements

The success of business depends on maintaining the goodwill of their customer bases and then expanding upon them.  This effort can be threatened by false, disparaging statements. The Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. in Phoenix has more than 20 years of experience representing businesses in court. If you’re the reputation of your company is marred by defamation, you can count on us to provide effective advocacy in order to stop the disparagement and obtain pursue from the parties responsible.

What is commercial disparagement?

In order to win a claim of commercial disparagement, the plaintiff must prove all of the following:

  • The defendant published a false statement of fact about the plaintiff’s business
  • The defendant knew the statement was false or had reckless disregard for whether the statement was true or false
  • The defendant intended or reasonably believed that the statement would cause financial loss to the business
  • The statement causes actual financial loss to the business

We provide knowledgeable counsel as to whether statements amount to commercial disparagement and can initiate litigation if the legal elements are satisfied.

Common defenses to commercial disparagement

There are several defenses that are commonly raised in commercial disparagement cases, such as:

  • The statement is true
  • The defendant reasonably believed it was true
  • It was an expression of opinion, not fact
  • The defendant has absolute or qualified immunity from suit

We are aware that these types of defenses are likely to be raised and will seek to prepare to counter them aggressively. Our firm also represents clients accused of unlawful business disparagement.

What is defamation?

A related cause of action is defamation. A defamation claim requires proof that the defendant published a false statement of fact to a third person that harms the plaintiff. Where commercial disparagement requires financial injury to a business, however, defamation is actionable if the defamatory statement causes damage to any plaintiff’s reputation, even if a direct financial injury is not proven. Defamation has many of the same defenses as commercial disparagement, although public figures have a heavier burden to bear if they seek damages for defamation. We will give you sound advice on whether a statement about you or your business constitutes defamation and, if so, bring suit on your behalf for damages.

What is libel?

There are two types of defamation, distinguishable by the method used to broadcast the statement. In libel, the statement appears in some tangible form. For instance, a statement in a newspaper, magazine or on a blog that falsely claims you were arrested may be libelous. An article, blog post, comment on the internet or letter to the editor making defamatory statements about a business may also be libelous.

What is slander?

Slander is spoken defamation. For instance, if one neighbor tells another neighbor over the fence that you were arrested, knowing that you were not, that statement might be slanderous. Likewise, a false, spoken rumor that a businessman cheats his customers would also likely be defamatory. The fact that slander is not in writing may make it particularly difficult to prove. We seek to address this problem by tracking down witnesses to the slander.

Contact a dedicated Phoenix business disparagement and defamation law firm

The Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. takes a practical approach to litigating business disparagement and defamation cases. To schedule a consultation, call our Phoenix firm today at 866-696-2033 or contact us online.

Donald W. Hudspeth Attorney Photo
Donald W. Hudspeth
Principal Attorney

Attorney Donald W. Hudspeth has more than twenty years’ experience practicing corporate and business law. Before attending law school, Mr. Hudspeth held a stock brokers license at the age of 21 and owned his own business at the age of 23. He was a business law professor at Arizona State University, West Campus, and has conducted classes and seminars for a number of higher institutions and organizations. Mr. Hudspeth has published two books on law and is the founder of the radio programs Law on the Edge and Law Talk.

Mark S. Hamilton Attorney Photo
Mark S. Hamilton

About Attorney Mark S. Hamilton has experience handling all aspects of civil and commercial litigation in federal, state, and tribal courts at the trial and appellate levels. Practice Areas Business litigation Commercial litigation Education University Of Hawaii Wm. S. Richardson School Of Law, Juris Doctor - 2002 University Of Hawaii, Master Of Arts in Asian…

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    The Arizona Republic
  • Arizona Sate University
    Top Rated Lawyers
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  • McAfee Secure
    Lawyers Of Distinction
    2020 issue of AZ Business Leaders

Our firm now offers a scholarship program for ASU first and second year law students.

The scholarship is awarded to students for academic merit with an interest in business and business law. Candidates may have majored in fields other than business, have taken a break between college and law school, or have had exceptional life experiences.

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  • "I would recommend Mr. Hudspeth unequivocally. Not only is he an outstanding business attorney, he also provided me with access to a divorce attorney. Thanks to his skill, and resources available outside the Phoenix law family, I was successful in challenging a “family law” mediation that was particularly and grossly unfair." - Chandler, Arizona Private Individual

  • "Thank you for the work you have done in creating these documents. It is always a pleasure dealing with this firm!" - J. P.

  • "An excellent response. Masterfully prepared. Thank you." - El Paso, Texas Real Estate Investor

  • "Glad about meeting with Don. Felt so much better, better than in 15 years. Really appreciated the conversation." - RH, Phoenix Manufacturing Company

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