First Amendment

First Amendment - Free Speech

One of the pinnacle guarantees of the first amendment is the freedom of speech and expression. One of the main legal stages where this guarantee is tested is during defamation lawsuits.

  • Defamation is any intentional false communication, that is either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation or causes financial injury. There are two categories of defamation: slander and libel.
    1. Slander: is when the false statement is spoken
    2. Libel: is when the false statement is written
Defamation can occur in any number of venues and is linked to many of the practice areas our firm specializes in. For example, an employee may be subject to defamation by an employer that harms the employee's reputation and makes it extremely difficult to find employment elsewhere. Or, someone in the entertainment business may be defamed in a newspaper or a magazine. Additionally, as globalization and social media have emerged to bring people together in communication as never before, the potential for defamation has expanded exponentially. At Theta Law Firm, we not only have the knowledge and understanding of the latest technologies and media, but we are also on the cutting-edge of innovative ways to achieve results for our clients. We know the most modern techniques out there because we use them.

In California, the protections given to speech are some of the most stringent in the country through what is known as SLAPP legislation. These are the laws governing against strategic lawsuits against public participation. Therefore, to make out a strong case of defamation there is an extremely fact-specific and rigorous process. We will collaborate with you every step of the way.

So, whether you are threatened with a defamation suit or are of the belief that you are being defamed, we can help you work through the intricate maze of case law and legislation to achieve the best results that protect your rights.

Other areas that we deal with that are linked to freedom of speech include:
  • Advertising and commercial speech regulations
  • Prior restraints (the attempt to halt speech before it occurs)
  • Fair use (of allegedly copyrighted materials)
  • SLAPP & anti-SLAPP litigation