Defamation Law: Understanding the Differences Between Libel and Slander

What is libel or slander?

Libel and slander are two forms of defamation. Libel is a written statement in which someone publishes false or damaging information about someone else. Slander is a spoken statement in which a person spreads false or damaging information about someone. The statements must result in harm to the person’s reputation.

However, there are some exceptions to these laws that allow people to speak openly and honestly about someone else without being liable for libel or slander. For example, speaking the truth is an absolute defense against defamation claims; as such, if what is said can be proven true, then a person cannot be held liable for libel or slander. Additionally, certain types of speech are protected under freedom of speech laws, depending on the context in which it is spoken and the type of audience to which it is directed to.

Understanding the differences between libel and slander can help protect you from getting involved in a legal dispute. It is important to be aware of the laws in your state or country when making any kind of statement about someone else, as the consequences can be serious. If you are ever unsure, it is always best to seek legal advice before proceeding. This will ensure that you stay within the law and protect yourself from potential claims.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of libel or slander can be severe. Depending on the circumstances, a person found to have committed libel or slander may be liable for damages to the victim’s reputation and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages in some cases. It is always wise to consult with a lawyer if you feel that you have been wronged by libel or slander, as there may be legal remedies available.

In either case, it is illegal to publicly or maliciously make false statements about someone else without any legal justification. Depending on the jurisdiction, a person may face jail time or hefty fines if they are found guilty of making false statements with malicious intent. It is important to understand that even though certain types of speech are protected under freedom of speech laws, malicious lies are not. Libel and slander can result in civil liability as well as criminal penalties. If someone suffers financial losses or emotional distress due to libelous or slanderous remarks, they may be able to sue for damages.

Overall, it is important to be aware of the consequences of libel or slander before speaking about someone else in any kind of public setting. Respect for others’ reputations and understanding the laws around defamation can go a long way toward protecting both your own reputation and that of others.

When should you see a lawyer about libel or slander causing injury to reputation?

If you believe that someone has made a false and damaging statement about you that has harmed your reputation, you should consider consulting with a lawyer. A lawyer can help assess the situation and advise you on whether or not it is worth pursuing legal action. Depending on the circumstances, there may be multiple avenues of recourse available.

A lawyer can also help protect you from potential defamation claims by making sure that any statements you make are within the boundaries of the law. Understanding the laws and consequences surrounding libel or slander can go a long way toward protecting both your own reputation and that of others.

If you are worried that you are a victim of libel or slander or have committed either, you should contact us at The Markarian Group.

Protect Your Business With the Right Regulatory Guidance

If you are a business owner, then you know that staying compliant with government regulations can be difficult. There are so many rules and regulations to keep track of, and it can be hard to know which ones apply to your business. This is where law firms specializing in regulatory guidance & administrative law can help. By working with an experienced law firm, you can rest assured that your business is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

What is Regulatory Guidance & Administrative Law?

Regulatory guidance & administrative law encompasses a wide variety of legal issues including, but not limited to banking and finance, competition law, consumer protection, data privacy, environmental protection and energy regulation. These laws were created to protect businesses from unfair practices and harm to the public. Working with a law firm specializing in this area can help you better understand the complexities of these laws and develop strategies to remain compliant.

What Can a Law Firm Do to Help?

When working with an experienced law firm can assure a review of all applicable regulations and provide guidance on how best to operate within their scope. We can also advise your business on potential risks associated with particular activities, such as regulatory sanctions or fines, so that you can take appropriate steps to avoid them. Additionally, we can represent your interests if any issues arise related to non-compliance. With the right legal counsel on your side, you can rest assured knowing that your business is protected from costly fines. We will help you understand the rules and regulations that apply to your particular business, as well as advise you on how best to comply with them.

As a law firm specializing in regulatory guidance & administrative law, our attorneys are highly knowledgeable and have extensive experience navigating the complexities of these laws. We will use our expertise to provide clear advice and assist you in developing effective compliance strategies. Our team takes a proactive approach when it comes to ensuring your business is compliant with applicable laws and regulations. By monitoring changing regulations, we can also help ensure that your business remains compliant with existing rules as well as any new ones that may arise. Additionally, we can help you navigate the legal and administrative process when it comes to filing for permits or applications for government funding.

Regulatory Compliance is Essential

No matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you own, regulatory compliance is essential for protecting your bottom line. By having knowledgeable attorneys on hand to help you navigate this complex area of law, you will be able to make sure your business is compliant with all applicable regulations.

Our team of experienced attorneys is here to assist you every step of the way through understanding and complying with government regulations. We provide personalized attention and legal counsel to businesses across a wide range of industries, from healthcare providers to technology companies. Get in touch with us today—we’ll work together to ensure compliance for your business now and well into the future.

The First Steps

We meet some of our new clients during times of extreme stress, where the risks are high and time frames and patience are short. In such an environment, an initial visit with a law firm can be challenging, and we try to make this process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

The First Steps

During a typical consultation with a new client, our team reviews the matter at hand to guide and advise the best possible course of action to take; among various options. We might suggest a gentle approach in some instances, or an aggressive approach in others. We also always try to gather the documents that really matter for our review, we contemplate legal costs associated with the process and answer any questions or concerns that might arise.

We also like to examine and evaluate any details or evidence that could be important in the proceedings. We believe that a new client should leave our offices with a plan they are confident in.

A Strategic Approach

Our goal is to work with a new client to develop a strategic approach that is tailored to their specific situation. We understand that every case is unique and requires an individualized approach. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best advice and guidance to ensure that their concern resolve in a timely and successful manner. We believe in being very collaborative with our clients, so that they are confident and assured in their decision throughout the process.

That collaboration allows us to use our experience to develop a well thought out strategic plan that is tailored to a client’s specific needs. We consider and explain the potential outcomes and pitfalls of different legal strategies and provide our professional opinion on which option is best suited for any given situation.

We strive to provide our clients with the highest quality legal representation and always keep their best interests in mind. Our team works hard to ensure that our cases are handled effectively and successfully. We are confident that the strategic approach will help achieve the best possible outcome.

Our “Whatever it takes to win” Attitude

We have a “whatever it takes to win” attitude. That means we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we achieve the best possible outcome. We have a track record of success and are passionate about helping our clients achieve the results they deserve. Our team has an unwavering dedication to justice and fairness, combined with an absolute commitment to winning. We stand behind our promise of providing reliable and effective legal advice while always keeping our client’s interests at heart.

We value transparency and communication and believe in offering our clients high-quality service. We are knowledgeable in many areas of the law, and we have the experience to provide you with sound advice that is tailored to your specific needs.

We honor our commitments here and we honor the trust that our clients put in us. We are here to provide the best legal representation and advice possible. We take pride in it. We are committed to helping our clients achieve their goals.

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Our office will be closed on Monday January 16th in observation of the holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King.

I was only seven years old when his soul left the earth, and while I was unable to fully understand the impact he had upon our country as a small child, I did feel the immense loss of his passing. My later study of his life left me in awe of his ability to lead a fractured nation during difficult times. His example in conducting himself with dignity in the quest to ensure equality, was a lesson for us all. As he taught: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Few have had a greater impact on our society, and I’m proud that we set aside a day in his honor, to reflect upon his leadership and what he meant to us all. As he advised in his noted “Letter from a Birmingham Jail, penned on April 16, 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We at the Markarian Group have dedicated ourselves to ensuring that we stamp out injustice wherever it exists, and we often represent individuals and causes, pro bono, because of that commitment. We believe in his conclusion that “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

What a great American!

When and Why You Should Consider Changing Your Business Entity From a Sole Proprietorship

Since no formal filing needs to be completed to operate a sole proprietorship, it often is the default business structure for many new businesses. There are a few reasons why we see so many sole proprietorships. Sometimes, a sole proprietor has no intention of starting a business but just starts selling a product or service. Some people don’t want to go through the hassle or financial burden of incorporating. Other times they don’t think their business is risky enough to need that extra layer of protection. It is important to know when to consider registering a legal entity to obtain the advantages of limited liability and otherwise. Consider these instances where registering a legal entity might be a good fit:

Reduce Your Personal Liability

As previously explained in our recent blog, Which Business Structure Best Suits Your Business, sole proprietorships offer zero division between your business and personal assets, increasing your personal liability at risk. As a business grows, so can your personal risk. If you notice your business is growing quicker than expected it may be smart to consider converting to an LLC or corporation, where personal liability is limited.

Seeking Tax Flexibility

Paying taxes is inevitable but choosing the right structure can alleviate some of your personal financial burdens. As a sole proprietor, you must file self-employed or personal tax forms. You are responsible for paying taxes on all profits and revenue earned from the business and filing it as personal revenue. Converting to a corporation or LLC will allow you to only pay taxes on the profits you make from the business, and provide additional flexibility. We recommend converting at the beginning of the year to avoid filing two different tax forms for the business. Always seek the guidance of your CPA or tax professional when making tax decisions.

Seeking Investors

If you intend to have a business that seeks investors, funding, or any sort of capital, having a sole proprietorship will often make raising capital more difficult. Banks have more comfort and confidence in providing more established business structures with loans and investors typically seek some sort of ownership piece or partnership structure in return for their investment when deciding to fund a business. Considering an LLC or a corporation in this scenario will facilitate more financing options and provide the business owner with additional flexibility in raising capital.

Before making these types of business decisions, call us today to schedule a consultation so we can help you determine which business structure is right for you.

Which Business Structure Best Suits Your Business?

When beginning a business, an important early decision is to determine the optimal form of business structure you want to establish for your business. The right decision can help ensure a business’s success and better protects personal assets and property. As a new business owner, it is important to understand your options before you register your business through the state of your business location.

Determining the most appropriate business structure is among the most crucial decision you can make, affecting every facet of your business, including the day-to-day operations, agreed-upon management structure, administrative requirements, tax consequences, and so much more.


Sole Proprietorship – this type of business structure is one of the easiest to set up and gives you complete control of your business. This structure is suited for a sole owner of a business. In many instances, the legal requirements and hurdles are minimal. You may not have to legally go through the process of setting up a sole proprietorship. In this format, you file self-employed or personal tax forms. A sole proprietor setup combines your personal and business assets, creating no divide between the two and putting you at potential risk, and not fully insulating you from liability, as well as other options.

Partnership – there are two types of partnership structures available: limited partnerships (LP) and limited liability partnerships (LLP). If you’re starting a business with two or more people, this could be a wise format to pursue. In partnership structures, it is necessary to execute partnership agreements, to eliminate any misunderstanding on how the partnership will operate. LPs and LLPs determine what is shared equally and when one partner has control of certain aspects of operations and how the other individuals will contribute and receive parts of the profits. Depending on a partner’s asset profile and the corporate structures selected, a partner may have to file self-employed or personal taxes. Be wary of the type of liability you retain.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) – if you’re seeking a business structure that divides your personal assets and liability from your business, then an LLC could be a good choice. An LLC can protect your personal liability in some important ways. Keep in mind, LLCs are state-specific and could have different regulations and obligations. This structure can involve one or more owners (members), requiring each owner to file self-employed/personal taxes.

Corporation – unlike any other structure previously mentioned, corporations protect your personal liability effectively, maintaining independence between your personal assets and your business. As an owner of a corporation, you do not need to file taxes on business earrings through your personal taxes but rather just on your individual earnings. Corporations file corporate taxes, can make a profit, obtain stocks, and can have one or more owners.

Nonprofit Corporation – nonprofits are unique as they benefit the public and are tax-exempt if filled through the IRS properly. As previously mentioned, all business structures have different regulations and rules. For example, nonprofits are exempt from distributing profit to members and political campaigns. And like standard corporations, owners are not personally liable and can be owned by one or more people.

Knowing the importance of this step for business owners, we have a team dedicated to discussing your options, providing counsel, and assisting with the filling process – we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

What We’ve Learned From Countless Business Partner Breakups

Navigating a business partnership requires more than just a trustworthy partner on your side. Going into a business partnership prepared and with the proper framework in place could lead you to a successful, long-standing, lucrative business. From our experience, here are partnership situations we recommend avoiding:

Not Implementing A Partnership Agreement at Inception

Approaching a business partnership without an executed partnership agreement is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. We have seen countless business partnership breakups. Although it may seem pessimistic, every business relationship should be approached with the end in mind. Just as in a marriage; it is unromantic to contemplate a breakup on the way into the relationship but ensuring an agreement that spells out how each partner will go their separate ways is critical. We generally counsel businesses not to spend too much money on legal niceties up front but rather to focus on operational success. However, the one exception to that rule is creating a business agreement up front that spells out how the parties will divide assets or buy one another out.

The foundations of a partnership agreement should be completed with a qualified lawyer familiar with business agreements, contracts, and transactions, like The Markarian Group. We make sure business agreements are structured to ensure straightforward and enforceable provisions to guide all parties. Contracts can outline partnership structures, tasks and responsibilities, and how buy-outs will be managed.

Relying Too Much On The Internet

Our experience has taught us that business agreements that are available online are best avoided. We have had more business than we would like, generated by people who need advice because they entered an inferior online agreement. Avoid online contracts because a contractual agreement needs independent and well-reasoned advice that considers the specific and unique situations involved in your business, properly defines important terms and addresses all discernable risks.

Not Setting Up The Correct Partnership Structure

The thought of pursuing a new endeavor with someone that hopefully shares your vision is exciting, but be realistic, remember that businesses are sometimes difficult to sustain, and business partner relationships could sour.

Almost all business partners enter a relationship full of optimism and hope for the future with a lucrative business. The right time to strike an agreement and set parameters as to how the relationship may end, is when emotions are positive. The Markarian Group can guide you and your business in the right direction. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

How to Choose the Right Attorney

Choosing and finding a qualified attorney takes more than a Google search. It takes time, research, and the right questions to ensure you select a lawyer most suitable for your needs. As someone seeking legal representation, it is important to conduct thorough interviews with whomever you consider hiring, preferably in person or via video conferencing.

These considerations are among those important to consider before the interview process:

  • Define and outline your legal needs and the ultimate desired outcome.
  • Identify lawyers that specialize and concentrate in your area of legal needs.
  • Obtain referrals from friends and colleagues.  Talk to those who have experienced the same situation you are facing.

Once you have identified your legal needs and have refined your list of lawyers to interview, the next step would be to prepare for the interviews by crafting a list of questions to help you guide the conversation. Having a plan and asking the right questions will ensure a productive meeting. The following are key questions to consider asking while interviewing a lawyer:

  1. How long have you specialized in this specific area of legal practice? It is important to hire an attorney that specializes and is an expert in the legal areas you are seeking representation. Not all lawyers are created equal. At The Markarian Group, our team is versed in over 10 practice areas, tailoring to all business types and needs.
  2. How long have you practiced law?
  3. What are your familiarities with cases, businesses, and situations similar to mine? Ask for a thorough analysis and case study and know that not every case is the same, so approach this with an open mind.
  4. Besides you, who else from the firm will be involved in our business relationship?
  5. Retainer and Billing. Although not a direct question, it is important to understand how long you will potentially have to retain a lawyer and the billing structure.

In addition to having the right questions, an attorney-client relationship is essential to a successful outcome.  Also, your “gut” instinct can be very important.  Choose a lawyer that is a good match for you and that you feel comfortable with.  Add to that level of comfort the right combination of experience, communication methods, strategy, personality and reputation, in order to ensure you choose wisely.

Finding the right lawyer and team of attorneys can be very case-specific and these questions should provide you with a good start. At The Markarian Group, we offer potential clients no-cost consultation meetings, and we are here to help you weigh your options. Call us today to schedule a consultation call.

How To Establish A Business in Florida

If you’re reading this, chances are you are interested in learning how to establish a business in Florida. Florida is appealing to new business owners because it has one of the most business-friendly tax and regulatory environments in the country. In Florida, you can form a business yourself or hire a service to do it for you. But regardless of which option you choose, use the following steps to get you through the process. There are basic requirements you must satisfy, which we will address later in our six steps.

For starters, it is vital to emphasize the process of selecting the best type of business entity form for your business. According to the Small Business Association, the type of business entity you wish to establish influences several business practices: from how you’ll file annual taxes, to the day-to-day operations of your business, and even how much of your personal assets are at risk.

Types of Business Entities/Structures

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • S Corporations
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Each business entity/structure type has its pros and cons, and our experienced team of attorneys is here to carefully walk you through your options to help decide which is best for you. We’re happy to discuss the benefits and risks associated with each type of entity structure and invite you to contact us here for a free consultation.

Once you establish the form of business you want to pursue those best suits your needs and business, follow these steps to establish a business in Florida:

  1. Establish a Name – Follow Naming Guideline for Florida

Do your research, and make sure no other business has your desired name or one similar enough that can cause confusion for your customers and clients. To check if your business name is available, you can do a name search on the SunBiz Florida website. If you’re creating an LLC, your name must include the phrase “limited liability company or “LLC/L.L.C.”

  1. File Articles of Incorporation

Form your business by visiting to file your Articles of Incorporation. You can file your business online or via mail. Non-Profit, Profit, LLC, and Partnership business types all have different and separate Articles of Incorporation. Be sure to fill out the corresponding form for your business type. You are also required to register your business with the Florida Department of Revenue

  1. Choose a Registered Agent 

Florida requires that you nominate a Registered Agent for your business, who is the business’ point of contact with the state. The registered agent can be an individual within the company, or an authorized services company authorized to do business in the state of Florida. The authorized agent will send and receive legal papers on the business’ behalf, including correspondence such as legal summons and document findings to properly maintain business. 

  1. Register Your Business Name 

If you selected to open your business as a Sole ProprietorshipThe Fictitious Name Act  (s.865.09, F.S.) requires any person (which, by definition, includes an individual, as well as a business entity) to register their “fictitious name” or “dba” name with the Florida Department of State prior to conducting business in Florida.

Registration of a fictitious name under the Fictitious Name Act allows:

  • An individual or business to operate under a name other than their legal name.
  • The public to search SunBiz to determine what individual or business is operating under the fictitious name.
  1. Seek Legal Advice

If you established a business where more than one owner or individual is involved, seek legal advice to create an operating agreement. Whether you’re starting a new business or revising your existing business structure, our experienced team of attorneys can help you draft an operating agreement tailored to your needs. We’ll make sure your agreement complies with applicable laws and regulations, and provides the protection you need to keep your business running smoothly.

  1. Get an EIN for your Florida LLC

What is an EIN? The Employer Identification Number (EIN), is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS); an Employer ID Number is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting.

If you are looking to establish a business in Florida, it is important to follow the proper steps and seek legal assistance. The Markarian Group has a team of experienced attorneys who can help you navigate the complex process of starting a business in Florida. We understand the importance of getting your business set up properly for success, and will work diligently to ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed and that your company is compliant with state laws. Contact us today for more information about our services or to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Building Bridges with your Business Partner During COVID-19 Times

There are few issues that are more dominant than the Covid pandemic, which has changed our society in ways no one anticipated less than two years ago. Despite the broader, more recognizable impacts that all of us have seen, the pandemic has also forced some uncomfortable situations that may not have existed before 2020. Consider vaccinations, which have proven effective in either preventing serious illness or hospitalization, or infection altogether. Though this may be true, not everyone shares the belief that vaccinations should be mandatory, but rather a personal choice. So what happens in a work environment where two partners share this difference of opinion? Dave Markarian, Partner, The Markarian Group, says it is a reasonable question to consider as the issue grows in relevance. This can be approached in several ways:

  • Approach Interactions With An Open Mind: We have to acknowledge that there are going to be differences of opinion, even in what seems obvious. Attempt to remain open-minded and understand your partners’ or coworkers’ points of view and listen generously.  Trying to convince them they are “wrong” and you are “right” will be unproductive and can foster an even more emotional reaction, making working together more difficult.
  • Be Respectful: It’s acceptable to disagree. Respect the reasons for other’s decisions that differ from the choices you’ve made, and speak about them rationally, with a spirit of understanding.
  • Figure It Out: This might seem like a challenge, but there’s always room for negotiation. Once you can work through differences respectfully, you can set boundaries on what kind of workplace environment is best.  A little cooperation all the way around can yield a result that allows everyone to feel safe while allowing for a sense of self-direction. Understanding the basics will go a long way.
  • It May Not Be Forever: The final point to realize is that this might be temporary. It’s difficult to imagine, but the science and treatments are changing every day. Make it clear as you work through these conversations that it isn’t personal – this is just a way to get through the current circumstances.

The key to keep in mind; avoid trying to convince your fellow worker that they’re wrong, and instead focus on sensible give-and-take solutions. It will make working together a lot easier. Stay calm and committed to establishing the best practices for everyone involved – including yourself!