Easy Guide to Defamation Law

Easy Guide to Defamation Law

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Easy Guide to Defamation Law

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


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