Asked in Libel & Slander for Ohio

Q: Can you sue if your photograph is aired on tv and you're accused of a crime you didnt commit?

Recently a documentary was filmed and aired on the Investigation Discovery Channel which is owned by Discovery Incorporated. This documentary was about a murder in my hometown. At one point a woman is being interviewed and they show a picture on the screen with a man's image highlighted and the woman being interviewed refers to him as being the murderer. It was not a picture of the murderer but a picture of my friend's father who was completely Innocent but the woman giving the interview Who provided that picture to Discovery Incorporated has a grudge against him and we believe she may have done this on purpose. We also feel the producers of the documentary should have tried to verify that the man in the picture really was the murderer before they aired the documentary. Does he have a case?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison
  • Brentwood, TN

A: I recommend your friend consults with an attorney. If the woman did not have any reason to believe he was actually the murderer and claimed that he was, that could be a reckless or intentional misrepresentation on her part. Defamation is a state law issue that is different in every state so ensure you consult with an attorney licensed and experienced in the state where the defamatory comment was made. I doubt any lawsuit against Investigation Discovery or Discovery Incorporated would be successful based on these facts. Your friend may have a case against the woman who was interviewed. Good luck!

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