A Special Characteristic of Iowa’s Libel Laws

As a business owner trying to develop a new enterprise or to refine and sustain an already successful company there is no shortage of potential challenges. Shifts in public tastes and preferences, overall economic stagnancy, and a market packed with competitors seeking to push you out of business are enough to cause serious concern.

But those are all unavoidable realities that a realistic entrepreneur expects to face. Unfortunately, there is no way to anticipate a libelous or slanderous act before it has transpired and at that point the damage that an incautious statement or publication has done may be irreparable.

It is difficult to prosecute a successful claim when your business has been the target of defamatory statements, so it is important that you work with a skilled and experienced attorney to build the strongest possible case. Contact the Des Moines business lawyers of LaMarca Law Group, P.C. at (877) 327-2600 to obtain the legal counsel that you need to counter intentionally false statements which may impact your business.

Special Provisions Regarding Damages

There are two separate classes of damages that may be awarded to you if you prevail in a lawsuit filed against a person, publication, or other media outlet that made intentionally malicious allegations about your business. The first of these classes constitutes the so-called “actual damages” that result from those false claims. This amount is linked to cancelled contracts and other concretely calculable financial effects. The second is “punitive damages”, an amount determined by a judge or jury to represent a fair penalty to be imposed upon the perpetrator of the defamatory act.

Under Iowa law, you may always pursue actual damages, but to seek punitive damages requires that a certain sequence of actions or circumstances must be present. The process is as follows:

  • Defamatory statement is made or published
  • You must demand a formal retraction from the media enterprise through which the statement was issued
  • If a retraction is denied, punitive damages can be sought
  • If a retraction is granted, punitive damages may still be sought unless the defendant can compellingly argue that it acted in good faith

Contact Us

Your reputation is priceless. Do not stand idly by if a competitor or other party has tarnished or attempted to adversely affect your company’s reputation. Contact the Des Moines business lawyers of LaMarca Law Group, P.C. today at (877) 327-2600.

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