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Defamation questions...

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?Colorado

I recently quit working as the general manager of a small business after it was sold. Agents/employees of the new owners spread rumors that I embezzled money from the company prior to the sale. (All untrue.) These rumors were spread through the company and into the community. The rumors have caused harm to my professional reputation. (Gross understatement.)

First, as the leader of a small company, could I be considered a "public figure" and thus need to prove "reckless disregard" or am I still a private person and need only to prove negligence by the defendant. Does Colorado make this distinction?

Second, I understand that Colorado is a "defamation per se" state. Does that mean that accusations like "x embezzled money" overcomes the culpability requirment? Or does that mean something else?

Third, I've read that the burden of proof for culpability rests on the plaintiff but once that has been met, the statement in question is presumed to be FALSE and the defendant has the burden to prove otherwise.

Thank you in advance!

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