BLAW 280 DEFAMATION - DEFAMATION Defamation consists of two...

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DEFAMATION Defamation consists of two related torts: slander is done through oral statements; libel is done in writing. The elements of the prima facie case for defamation are: 1. Defamatory Statement 2. Falseness 3. Publication (or “communicated”) 4. Injury or Damages Defamatory Statement The defendant must have made a statement that would tend to lower the plaintiff’s reputation; such a statement is defamatory. Falseness The statement made by the defendant must be false ; a true statement is not a tort even if it greatly lowers the plaintiff’s public reputation. Publication (or “communicated”) The defendant’s statement must have been published; that is it must have been heard or read by at least one person other than the plaintiff. Injury or Damages If the case involves slander , the plaintiff will not prevail unless he can prove that he has suffered some injury or damages as a result of the defendant’s defamatory statement.
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If the case involves libel , the plaintiff can win the suit even if he cannot establish actual injury. In such a case the plaintiff will be awarded nominal damages – for example $1. EXAMPLE : Bill published the following on his blog: “Lurleen is one of the biggest cocaine dealers in the San Fernando Valley”. (In fact Lurleen did not sell drugs.) Bill’s statement is defamatory
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BLAW 280 DEFAMATION - DEFAMATION Defamation consists of two...

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