In Massachusetts, the elements of a defamation claim are:
- a false and defamatory communication
- of and concerning the plaintiff which is
- published or shown to a third party
In Massachusetts, you know must also show fault, i.e. that the publication was at least negligent if not intentional. Written defamation is libel and when it could damage the plaintiff's reputation in the community by accusing them of a crime (even an uncharged crime), having a loathsome disease (including most sexually transmitted diseases) or presents the plaintiff in a light that suggests he or she is unprofessional or unethical in business, the libel may be actionable per se, which means plaintiffs do not need to plead or prove economic losses in order towin.
The statute of limitations for defamation in Massachusetts is (3) years. Massachusetts, however, has adopted the single publication rule, defining publication as the time when a work is "first made widely available to the public". See Abate v. Maine Antique Digest, 17 Mass. L. Rep. 288 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2004).
Online attacks may also be actionable under the Massachusetts anti-bullying statute.
If you have been defamed, whether with slander (oral defamation) or libel (written defamation), you may be able to recover money for the damage to your reputation. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.