The new legal claim of “defamatory thinking” has given rise to thousands of lawsuits being filed by attorneys in courts across the United States, according to a defamation industry trade magazine.
Courts report that “defamatory thinking” cases are now in the top tier of civil cases being filed, behind only divorce, bankruptcy and employment law cases, the upcoming April issue of You Say We Sue reports.
Defamatory thinking, or ‘nascent defamation’ as some experts call it, relates to individuals or corporations who may think about or consider defamatory statements “but do not publish them or communicate them in any media — yet,” explained Carl Deegan, a defamation expert and noted legal scholar. “Since most social media are extensions of our personal thoughts and most participants aren’t thinking fully before they post, attorneys are cutting to the chase and suing before those thoughts cause more damage to their clients.”
Most defamatory thinking cases are dismissed, but attorneys acknowledge that the “right one just hasn’t made its mark.”
“It’s a matter of time,” Deegan said. “We’re one juicy pretweet away from the right case to come down, and then, ‘Bam,’ we’ve got defamatory thinking on the map.”