Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Filing a Defamation Lawsuit in Washington

Posted Friday, June 1, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Jeff Simpson recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Seattle and his former foster parent, ex-mayor Ed Murray. Simpson and others have made child sexual abuse allegations against Murray, and the lawsuit claims that the former mayor improperly used his office to defame his accusers. The suit also claims that government officials negligently failed to investigate the abuse allegations.

*What is Defamation?*Defamation is a type of personal injury. Basically, defamation is the act of damaging a person’s good reputation. There are two types of defamation - slander and libel. Slander is spoken defamation (like in a television interview), and libel is written defamation (like in a newspaper article). To win a defamation lawsuit in Washington, plaintiffs must prove that:

The law also differentiates between defamatory statements made about private figures and statements made about public figures. It is easier for a private figure like Jeff Simpson to prove a defamation claim. The standard of proof is the same as in a normal negligence lawsuit, that the defendant did not act like a reasonable person would have acted. Public figures, however, must prove actual malice, which means the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the truth or knew the statement was false.

The deadline for filing a defamation lawsuit in Washington is two years from the date of the slanderous or libelous incident.

*Suing City Officials for Negligence*Unlike other states, Washington has abolished the sovereign immunity doctrine, leaving the state government and its municipalities open to tort liability. (Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that protects the government from being sued without its consent.)

However, this immunity waiver is not without its limits. Claims must arise out of the government’s “tortious conduct to the same extent as if it were a private person or corporation.” In other words, any tort limits that apply to private citizens and businesses also apply to the government. Claimants must also follow certain procedural requirements, depending on what government entity they want to sue.

The first step in filing a claim against Seattle is filing an official damages claim with the City Clerk. The form must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is three years for negligence claims. The city will forward the claim to the Risk Management Office and a claims adjuster will investigate it before making a recommendation. The city may pay you a sum of money, transfer the claim to another entity, or deny the claim entirely.

Claims typically take 60 days to resolve, but complicated cases might take longer. If the city denies your claim, your next option is filing a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced attorney can explain your legal options.

*Contact Us Today*Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you are the victim of defamation. Our experienced attorneys will examine the facts of your case and help recover compensation for your injuries.