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Defamation is false and unprivileged spoken words or written publication, which exposes any living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or which causes him/her to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him/her in his/her trade or occupation.
For example, if a person or the news media says or writes something about you that is understood to lower your reputation, or that keeps people from associating with you, defamation has occurred. However, if someone says something false about someone who has died, as reprehensible as that may be, in most states it is not considered defamatory. No legal action can be taken on behalf of a dead person. Only a living person can be defamed.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified defamation lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local defamation attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.