Defamation of Character Expert Witness

I provide litigation consulting and expert opinion in defamation of character cases, including both libel and slander (or portrayal in a false light). My familiarity comes from 15 years of regular contact with defamation law and cases, tracking and analyzing the spread of defamation and economic damages, working with law firms to frame defamation cases or defenses, and hundreds of consultations with victims of defamation, most of them readers of my book Fighting Slander, published in 2003 and now in 4th Edition (5th edition forthcoming).

Particular areas of expertise:

• Online defamation, whether through blogs or social media. I worked for the founders of the internet, have been using social media since the early 1980s on bulletin boards and Usenet and "virtual communities," since before the WWW burst on the scene in the 1990s, and the newer and broader venues such as Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter since then, as well as "ratings" sites such as Yelp!. These venues may or may not harm either individual or business defamation victims, depending on the nature of the defamation, whether it is national or local, and whether it "goes viral."

• Mainstream media libel. I've been an editor for 28 years, and understand the aspects: proper editorial procedure, "balance" (and the limitations of quote marks), fault, hot-button words, the limits of satire, "newswire" defenses, etc. Though social media libel gets the main share of attention, mainstream fault (a.k.a. "malice") can be far more damaging.

• Economic damages analysis and opinion. After 15 years of directly counseling defamed businesses and individuals victims on non-legal reputation repair solutions, I can help put numbers to the costs of real-life solutions, including actual and presumed damages. For either businesses or individuals I analyze and calculate financial harms and present my findings in hard numbers and clear infographics, with established causation.

• Emotional distress and why it is a reason to be awarded monetary damages (or when the claims are false). In the 17 years since Fighting Slander was first published, I have spoken to hundreds of victims of slander and libel, and can clearly describe to a jury the terrific stress and anxiety that defamation causes victims, up to the point of making them unable to work, which then moves into "financial harms," the other legal claim that leads juries and judges to make substantial awards to plaintiffs (I stay current on national trends in jury verdict awards). I also address emotional distress as a result of malicious prosecution. While I prefer to anchor from a psychiatrist/psychologist's or emergency room documentation to render an emotional distress opinion, I usually have broader and more documented experience than any of those groups to write an opinion or address a jury.

• Supporting attorneys in identifying the elements of a defamation case and putting the case or the defense together, sometimes finding little-known claims or defenses in the evidence or case file (beyond mainstream media libel law, I am familiar with gossip campaigns, Web/internet/social media, business slander, emotional distress, as well as more obscure claims or defenses). This includes structuring complaints or defenses, most effective points (e.g., "potential viewers" vs. "likes" or comments), and semantic analysis of hot-button words based on context – whether in niche businesses/groups or immigrant subcultures.
    This is usually the most effective and economical use of my time for a law firm, especially with the assistance of your paralegal(s) in pulling up statutes, case law, or researching state jury verdicts.

Few. I am a completely independent EW, not inherently a "plaintiff's expert witness" or a "defendant's expert witness." I examine facts and deliver opinion based on those facts.

customer testimonial

Nicholas Carroll
Author of Fighting Slander, 4th Edition

Partial list of points I am familiar with: economic damages (business losses, salary loss, and financial harm to career), product disparagement, emotional distress/mental anguish, malice (fault), public figures, public officials, right to privacy, truth or falsity, privilege (absolute or partial), satire, opinion vs. fact, painting or portraying in a false light, and innocent or intentional dissemination. Note: although I have written extensively on defamation law, I am not licensed to the bar, and cannot give legal advice to laypeople. In speaking to defamation victims, I can only give legal opinions if a licensed attorney is present, in person or by phone.

Online articles I've written on defamation:

Expert Witness Consulting or Testimony (or to request a copy of my CV) please contact me by:

1. Email:

2. Phone: 415–810–1966 Pacific Time No charge for a brief phone call. Normally I can't solve anyone's entire defamation problem in 30 minutes, but I can usually tell you whether I can be of help. (When the merit of a case is hazy, I may need to look at evidence to tell whether I can be of help; in such situations I tell you as quickly as possible which direction my opinion is heading.)

3. Defamation Repair and Reputation Control Services