Paralegal Essentials – Tort Law (Part 4 – Defamation)

Another intentional tort is Defamation. Defamation can either be slander (making false statements orally) or libel (making false statements in writing).

Defamation – An intentional act (either oral or written) which hurts a person’s good reputation.

The elements include:

  1. Intent (actor must intend the act which causes the  harm to reputation)
  2. Causation (the act must be the cause of the harm to reputation)
  3. Falsity (the statement must be false)
  4. Damage to reputation (there must be damage to reputation)
  5. Publication (the false statement must be published – communicated to someone other than the defamed party

Defenses to Defamation include:

  • Truth (if the statement is true, it is a complete defense)
  • Public Figure (requires actual malice)

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