While many people are not sure the difference between trade libel and defamation, the two are completely unrelated beasts to those who know their definitions. This is because the two are actually fundamentally different. The first important key difference is with respect to whether the harm that comes from each is designed to either address or protect.
Defamation is meant to protect the reputation of the person whereas trade libel is meant to provide compensation for pecuniary damage. By definition, in trade libel, it must be proven that there were financial damages as a result of the libel. In defamation, it must be proven that the reputation was damaged, but not that there were financial losses as a result.
Furthermore, in trade libel, the negative statements must be proven false. However, this is not necessarily true in defamation. In trade libel, the damages must be caused by falsehoods being spread about the company. In defamation, it only needs to be proven that the name was brought down in a way that was damaging.
In trade libel, the plaintiff is not able to recover damages from mental distress but is instead limited to only financial losses. Depending on the specific case, the distinction between the two can have a huge impact on the outcome of the case. For instance, if the poor statements caused distress, it is not the best defense to use trade libel, which is defined as the publication of false statement of fact that intentionally harms the quality of services or product.
In both cases, it must be proven that the falsehoods were intentional and caused harm to the services or products. This is to protect the media from unintentional falsehoods and to allow consumers to communicate poor services. If the facts are found to be true, it is unlikely a trade libel case will be successful. Furthermore, if a consumer or reporter published information that helped inform the public, a defamation case is also unlikely to be successful, as the intention was not to disparage the services or cause harm.
If you have a trade libel or defamation case, you need legal representation. At Bochetto & Lentz, our attorneys have successfully worked in libel and defamation cases, helping restore the reputation of our clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help.