Cease and desist letters are a common way to stop unwanted behavior without having to file a lawsuit. In the case of slander or libel, a cease and desist letter would detail the offense and inform the accused that he or she may be sued if the behavior is not corrected and retractions made of harmful statements.
Slander and libel are both forms of defamation. Slander is spoken defamation; libel is written or printed defamation. To prove defamation, the slander and/or libel:
- Must be heard, seen or witnessed by a third party
- Must be false
- Must damage a person's or organization's reputation
- Cannot be privileged speech
To be effective, a cease and desist letter should demonstrate that there is enough evidence of one or more incidents of slander or libel that would allow the harmed party to prevail in a court of law. Once the evidence is laid out in the cease and desist letter, the accused may bow to the threat of legal action and remedy the situation before you have to file a lawsuit.
Whether the defamation has an onerous effect on your business or personal life, it is always a good idea to have an attorney draft a cease and desist letter. The attorney will know what to include in the letter, such as:
- A description of the false statements
- A formal request for the offending party to cease making those statements
- Reasons why the statements are false
- A description of how the false statements are adversely affecting your business or personal reputation
- A statement informing the offending party of your intention to file a lawsuit if the statements are not stopped and retracted by a set date.
Since a cease and desist letter is a formal document, it must be formatted properly, which your attorney will know how to do.
The Cogdell Law Firm is a boutique law firm focusing on large, complex business and criminal financial-related litigation, including white collar criminal defense, securities fraud, health care fraud investigation, criminal appeals and state criminal defense. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or [email protected]
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