If someone has made an unprivileged false communication concerning you to a third person you may have a cause of action for Defamation especially if the communication concerns your profession or imputes a crime to you. Defamation is a form of personal injury that may entitle the injured person to actual and other damages.
Defamation Litigation is derived from the recognition that "[r]eputation and honor are no less precious to good men than bodily safety and freedom. In some cases they are dearer than life itself. It is needful for the peace and welfare of a civilized commonwealth that the laws should protect the reputation as well as the person of the citizen." Goldborough v. Orem & Johnson, 108 Md. 671 (Md. 1906).
Defamation may either be oral (slander) or written (libel). In some jurisdictions liability for libel may be broader than slander. Damages may also depend on the culpability of the person uttering the defamatory remarks. Typically, if a person acts with malice, which means they knew or should have know the utterance was false, damages may be presumed and you may be entitled to punitive damages. Once again, the consequences of making the statement with malice are determined on a state by state basis.
Defamation does not necessarily mean that you have been personally named in the defamation. If a defamatory remark would allow a reasonable person to determine that the remark referred to an individual or if people actually made the connection between a person and the connection was not unreasonable you may have a cause of action for defamation.
The Norman Law Firm has extensively litigated defamation actions and has written comprehensive articles on the Law of Defamation. If you feel that you or someone you know has been defamed call the Firm for a free consultation.