Introduction to Business Law

In the case of the call center, we have a few different options for civil tort litigation. Given the complexity of the situation, it would be prudent to sit down and analyze exactly how much this particular situation has cost us in terms of money. That would better allow us to go forward with the litigation and seek the proper amount of restitution in either a settlement or in court. Still, our options include bringing action for defamation, which has had a negative impact on the company’s reputation.

In addition, we could bring action on the basis of the laser copy machine, itself. We could sue for both the cost of the machine and the opportunity cost that we have lost as a result of not having the use of that machine. The defamation lawsuit is obviously the most important piece of litigation that we can bring against the call center. Their action in spreading false statements directly violates civil code in regards to defamation of character.

In a corporate sense, this means that we can hope to recoup whatever revenue we lost because of the damage to our company’s reputation. ExpertLaw. com defines defamation of character as being, “Generally speaking, defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm” (ExpertLaw. com). Generally, we find that this situation meets all of the conditions that are required in order for defamation to have occurred.

Still, we must take the time to consider what ramifications might come from bringing a lawsuit of this magnitude. By bringing forth this civil action, we might very well win back some restitution, but there is also the chance that this could bring the false statements to a much broader audience than who originally heard them. This is a very real risk which could counteract any positive effects that might come from winning the lawsuit. We can see plenty of previous examples of where this type of tort civil litigation has been brought in this sort of situation.

The interesting thing about defamation of character is that it is normally brought by individuals, so there are not nearly as many examples involving one company suing another one. According to Linda K. Williams of the Legal Resource Center, “Generally, corporations, partnerships, trade associations, or other business associations may sue as parties in a defamation action. Corporate plaintiffs are treated similarly to individual plaintiffs in a defamation action in that a corporation, like an individual, can have a reputation for adhering to the moral standards of the community in which it sells its products” (Williams).

In addition to a classic defamation lawsuit, we might also consider filing another piece of tort litigation which could appropriately bring action against the call center. According to Williams, “The tort of disparagement of goods or services, or "trade libel" as it is often called, protects property rights. It is different from the tort of defamation, which protects reputation” (Williams). Williams does not only give definitions for these things, but she also gives examples of how they have been applied in court before.

She writes, “In Systems Operations, Inc. v. Scientific Games Development Corp. , the court explained that the tort is “‘concerned with interests in property and should be called `disparagement' to avoid confusion with defamation (libel and slander) which concerns interests of personality’” (Williams). Since there could be some consequences associated with filing this sort of lawsuit, we might be better suited to stick to litigation against the call center that recoups lost money from the laser copy machine and the revenue lost because of that.

Since we have contracts that outline the fact that this copy machine was, in fact, our property, we have the ability to not only prove this but to also show that their holding of that machine cost us valuable ability to make business transactions. This would be a very effective way of showing the call center that we won’t take such treatment lying down, while not giving them a chance to voice their false messages any further.

Though the business defamation lawsuit might bring more restitution in this case, we could reap benefits of not having their grievances aired out into the open forum, depending upon exactly how damaging those messages actually are. That means that it is absolutely imperative that we figure out the effect that these messages might have on us before they hit open air. These two civil tort actions are our most effective options. The business defamation lawsuit is obviously the one that we will have to put a lot of thought into before filing, while the lawsuit over our personal property is one that should be filed immediately.

In summary, these cases should be fairly easy to prove given the fact that we will have all of the evidence to make such claims. Depending upon how much damage we deem the defamation to have caused our firm, we must figure out what benefit a possible lawsuit might have to us.

References

  • Expert Law: Defamation of Character. http://www. Expertlaw. com FindLaw:
  • Business Defamation. http://earthlink. findlaw. com/employmentbook/HFCHP5_m. html Williams, Linda. Legal Resource Center. Trade Libel. http://www.Expertlaw.com