What is Defamation?
Defamation is a common law tort, governed by state law, in which an individual makes a "publication" of a defamatory statement of and concerning the plaintiff that damages the reputation of the plaintiff. Defamation comes in two forms: slander and libel. Slander involves the oral "publication" of a defamatory remark that is heard by another, which injures the subject's reputation or character. Libel is the written "publication" of a defamatory remark that has the tendency to injure another's reputation or character.
What are the elements of a cause of action for defamation?
The elements of a defamation suit; whether slander or libel, are:
1. A defamatory statement;
2. Published to a third party;
3. Which the speaker knew or should have known was false;
4. That causes injury to the subject of the communication