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Libel and Slander

Slander Defined

❶Likewise, in Hutchinson v. Once a claim has been made, the defendant may avail themselves of a defense of justification the truth , fair comment, responsible communication, [] or privilege.

Libel vs. Slander

Slander vs. Libel
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Libel and Slander

Damages payoff for worth for slander may be limited to actual special damages unless there is malicious intent, since such damages are usually difficult to specify and harder to prove. Some statements such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease, or being unable to perform one's occupation are treated as slander per se since the harm and malice are obvious, and therefore usually result in general and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed.

Words spoken over the air on television or radio are treated as libel written defamation and not slander on the theory that broadcasting reaches a large audience as much if not more than printed publications. The defaming a man in his reputation by speaking or writing words which affect his life, office, or trade, or which tend to his loss of preferment in marriage or service, or in his inheritance, or which occasion any other particular damage.

Law of Nisi Prius, 3. In England, if slander be spoken of a peer, or other great man, it is called Scandalum Magnatum. Falsity and malice are ingredients of slander. Written or printed slanders are libels; see that word. Here it is proposed to treat of verbal slander only, which may be considered with reference to, 1st. The nature of the accusation. The falsity of the charge. The mode of publication.

The occasion; and 5th. The malice or motive of the slander. Actionable words are of two descriptions; first, those actionable in themselves, without proof of special damages and, secondly, those actionable only in respect of some actual consequential damages. Words of the first description must impute: The guilt of some offence for which the party, if guilty, might be indicted and punished by the criminal courts; as to call a person a "traitor," "thief," "highwayman;" or to say that he is guilty of "perjury," "forgery," "murder," and the like.

And although the imputation of guilt be general, without stating the particulars of the pretended crime, it is actionable. That the party has a disease or distemper which renders him unfit for society. An action can therefore be sustained for calling a man a leper. But charging another with having had a contagious disease is not actionable, as he will not, on that account, be excluded from society.

A charge which renders a man ridiculous, and impairs the enjoyment of general society, and injures those imperfect rights of friendly intercourse and mutual benevolence which man has with respect to man, is also actionable. Holt on Libels, Unfitness in an officer, who holds an office to which profit or emolument is attached, either in respect of morals or inability to discharge the duties of the office in such a case an action lies. The want of integrity or capacity, whether mental or pecuniary, in the conduct of a profession, trade or business, in which the party is engaged, is actionable, 1 Mal.

See Holt on Libels, ; Id. Of the second class are words which are actionable only in respect of special damages sustained by the party slandered. Though the law will not permit in these cases the inference of damage, yet when the damage has actually been sustained, the party aggrieved may support an action for the publication of an untruth; 1 Lev.

Action upon the case for Defamation, D 30; Bac. Slander, B; but it lies if maliciously spoken. See 1 Rolle, Ab. Slander, C; 8 T. The charge must be false; 5 Co. Second, in both a slander and libel case the plaintiff needs to prove that the statement was published by the defendant.

Libel cases are easier to prove than slander cases. A perfect example is when a newspaper makes libelous statements. There is a printed copy of the statement, with the authors name usually right under it.

Slander, however, does not create the same tangible evidence. Often slander involves a "he said, she said" situation. Unless the publisher admits to having made the slanderous statement there is often no proof that it was ever said.

If one is contemplating a slander action then witnesses should be gathered far before any decision to file a lawsuit. Differences exist in the amount of damages that are awarded in slander and libel actions.

In a libel action, unless the plaintiff is a public official or public figure, the plaintiff does not need to prove financial damages. The common law has made a policy determination that the publication of defamatory statements in a transmittable, affixed form that is capable of widespread and simple dissemination will certainly cause damage and therefore damage to one's reputation or character is enough for a court to impose damages.

A slander action is different. The threat of a single publication through a medium incapable of mass dissemination, longevity, or permanence shall is not considered to be as grave as that of a libelous publication. Is defamation on the internet libel or slander? It is unclear at this point whether the transmittal of defamatory statement over the internet constitutes libel or slander.

This may not seem like an important distinction but it is important, especially as to the awarding of damages. Some cases throughout the U. The jury found that the defendants liable for defamation as well as misappropriation of the executives names. The court did not specify whether the cause of action was based on libel or slander. Due to the courts unwillingness to specify a specific form of defamation associated with internet use it can be perceived that the court system has not yet determined how to deal with the matter.

Cyberlaw is a new and important field of law and as more cases come to trial stage the answer to this question may come with it. Defamation Laws Libel Slander. A defamatory statement; 2.

Published to a third party; 3. Which the speaker knew or should have known was false; 4.

Proving Slander

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slander. n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit.

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Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity.

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Slander is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Sec. 4. To render words actionable, they must be uttered without legal occasion. On some occasions it is justifiable to utter slander of another, in others it is excusable, provided it be uttered without express malice. Bac. Ab. .

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At common law, defamation actions were divided into two categories, libel and slander. Libel vs. Slander Libel and slander both involve the making of false statements, but the term "libel" refers to written defamation, while "slander" refers to non-written defamation. Legal definition for SLANDER: Defamation that is oral or spoken. It is a false statement made about a person, shared with at least one other person, that harms the defamed person's reputation or standing.