Does The Constitution Offer Any Protection For Defamatory Statements?
The US Constitution as well as the California State Constitutions both offer ultimate protection for what might be deemed defamatory statements. In fact, in California, we have legislation under Code of Civil Procedure 425.16 which allows you to file a lawsuit against someone who's suing you for defamation because you're alleging that that person is violating your right to free speech under the Constitution. Because of that, the court will conduct a mini-trial right there on the spot to determine whether or not that speech was privileged. If that speech is deemed privileged under the Constitutional First Amendment guarantees of free speech, the court will then award a verdict or a judgement against the person who brought the defamation suit and usually award that person the reasonable attorney's fees of the person who sued them. This makes defamation cases very difficult to pursue and often makes it very hard to find a defamation law attorney because of the fact that he really doesn't want to bring a claim where his client might be subjected to attorney's fees.
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