Types of Torts
three types of tort
1- liability include intentional torts:
A- The Intentional Torts:
Defamation is an untrue statement made by one party to another about a third party. It
consists of either slander or libel; slander is oral or spoken defamation, and libel is written
(or, in some cases, broadcast) defamation. The elements for defamation are:
A statement about a person’s reputation, honesty, or integrity that is untrue
Defamation requires that whatever is said or written be communicated to a third
Defamation requires that whatever is said or written be communicated to a third party.
3. A statement that is directed at a particular person
To qualify as defamation, the statement made must be about an individual or a small
enough group that all in the group are affected. For example, the general statement “All
accountants are frauds” is too broad to be defamatory. But the statement “All the Andersen
audit partners who worked on the Enron accounts were dishonest” is specific enough to
meet this requirement.
The person who is defamed must be able to establish damages, such as lost business, lost
profits, lost advertising, lost reputation, or some economic effect that has resulted from the
5. In some cases, proof of malice
Malice must be proved in defamation cases that involve public figures. Public figures are
those voluntarily in the public eye, such as elected officials, recording artists, actors, sports
figures, and media magnets (think Paris Hilton).
The Defenses to Defamation
A statement may be damaging, but, if it is the truth, it is not defamation. For example, you
could publicly disclose that your boss took LSD during the late 1960s when he was in
college. The remark might hurt your employer’s reputation, but if it is the truth, it is not
the tort of defamation despite the harm it may do to him.
2- Opinion and Analysis.
One of the current issues in defamation cases is whether the statements made are protected
when they are a columnist’s analysis of a situation. Courts are trying to determine what
level of protection is given for viewpoints when someone objects to the conclusions drawn
rather than the statements of fact. A fine line is often all that separates statements of fact
from expressions of opinion. In business publications, those opinions can be devastating to
companies and their stock performance.