Rule: Defamation (Tort)
Defamatory language is language that adversely affects a living individual (and sometimes a corporation's) reputation. This may result from impeaching the individual's integrity, honesty, sanity, virtue, or the like. To establish a prima facie case for defamation, a plaintiff must prove the following elements.
- Defendant created defamatory language;
- The defamatory language was “of or concerning” the plaintiff. In other words, the language must identify the plaintiff to a reasonable reader, viewer, or listener.
- The defamatory language was published by the defendant to a third person.
- The plaintiff's reputation was damaged
If defamation refers to a public figure or involves a matter of public concern, two additional elements must be provided in addition:
- Falsity of the defamatory language; and
- Fault on the part of the defendant.
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