Nevada’s laws on “harm to reputation”
If someone has maliciously harmed your professional or business reputation in Nevada, you may be entitled to sue under:
- Nevada defamation laws (libel or slander),
- Nevada invasion of privacy laws,
- Nevada “Intentional interference with contractual relations” laws
- Nevada “intentional interference with prospective economic advantage” laws, or
- Nevada’s business disparagement law.
In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers present an overview of Nevada’s laws on harm to reputation as follows:
- 1. Nevada’s “defamation” law
- 2. Nevada’s “invasion of privacy” law
- 3. Nevada’s “business disparagement” law
- 4. How do I prove harm to my reputation in Nevada?
- 5. What damages can I recover for harm to my reputation in Nevada?
In Nevada, defamation consists of false statements that purport to be fact. If the statements are made in writing, they are libel. If made verbally, they are slander.
Whether libel or slander, to prove defamation in Nevada you must show:
- That the defendant made false statements of “fact” about you;
- That the defendant made an unprivileged publication of the statement(s) to someone other than you;
- That the statements were made intentionally, negligently, or with a reckless disregard for the truth; and
- That as a result of the statements, your reputation was damaged.
The person who defamed you may also be subject to punishment under Nevada’s criminal law on libel.
Another source of harm to reputation is “invasion of privacy.”
Nevada law recognizes four types of wrongful acts as an invasion of privacy:
- Intrusion upon seclusion. This is what we generally think of as an invasion of privacy — for instance, taking pictures of you or recording a conversation in a place where you reasonably expect privacy.
- Appropriation of likeness or identity. This occurs when someone uses your name or likeness for a commercial purpose without your consent – for instance, putting out a product under your name.
- Public disclosure of private facts. This occurs when someone wrongfully discloses private and embarrassing (yet truthful) facts about you – for instance, someone working in your doctor’s office discloses to your boss a medical condition you find highly embarrassing.
- Portrayal in a false light. Someone portrays you in a false light when they selectively disclose facts about you so as to paint a false picture of you. For instance, someone might disclose that you came to work one day with lipstick smeared all over your mouth, but fail to mention that it was because you gave CPR to someone who otherwise would have died.
The person who invaded your privacy may also be subject to prosecution under Nevada’s criminal law against unauthorized listening..
Business disparagement is a deceptive trade practice in Nevada. Someone who disparages the goods, services or business of another person by a false or misleading representation of fact is liable to that person for any damages caused by the disparagement.1
Business disparagement in Nevada is similar to defamation, except that the statement relates to your business, goods or services rather than to you personally.2
Depending on the circumstances, someone who disparages your business may also be subject to prosecution under Nevada’s criminal laws on deceptive advertising.
To prove harm to your reputation in Nevada, you will need to prove that each element of the specific cause of action has been met.
This will often require you to prove that:
- The statement contained a false allegation,
- The statement was made wrongfully, and
- The statement harmed your income.3
Proving harm to your income usually requires proof of earnings both immediately prior to and after the wrongful disclosure. This can be shown by tax returns, invoices, bank account statements and, in some cases, expert testimony.
It can be difficult to put a monetary value on harm to your reputation in Nevada.
Depending on the precise claim, however, your case might be worth:
- The amount you lost in business income after the statement was published,
- Lost increase in salary due to a job or promotion you lost because of the statement,
- Lost business opportunities because of the harm to your reputation, and/or
- Amounts you expended restoring your reputation.
- NRS 598.0915 (8).
- Pegasus v. Reno Newspapers (2003) 118 Nev. 706.
- An exception is in the case of “defamation “per se.” Per se defamation occurs when the defendant falsely accuses you of a crime or of being unfit to practice your business. In a defamation per se case, the jury is allowed to assume you were damaged without specific proof.