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Reading, Writing, Speaking… Published?

In order for a statement to be defamatory, it must be published.  This means that the statement must be seen or read, as well as understood by a third party.  So, your little brother finding your diary where you “defamed” him won’t count, nor will sending a defamatory letter to someone who can’t read your sloppy handwriting.

In the 1964 case filed by Curtis “Curly” Hunter against Harry Hornby of the Uvalde Leader-News, the Texas Court of Civil Appeals upheld the district court’s verdict, ruling that a newspaper is…

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  • Defamation
  • Jan 24, 2017

How Much Truth Is Enough?

No one likes to be the subject of gossip. However, a plaintiff has no redress under the law regarding true rumors because a statement’s truth is an absolute defense against defamation claims. To be defamatory, the statement must be false. But when it comes to defamation law, truth can be relative. U.S. courts are constantly striving to strike the perfect balance between the intent, meaning, and effect of the statement while also considering any spoken or published inaccuracies.

In a 1989 defamation case filed by terminated firefighter Anthony Jones…

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  • Defamation
  • Jan 18, 2017

To Have Defamation, You Need…

Defamation may seem simple, but when it comes to present day American defamation law, there are five requirements a statement must meet in order to be considered defamatory in court. Though we will cover each element in more depth in the following posts, let’s start with a brief overview.

First, the statement at issue must be false. Because the First Amendment’s protection of the right to freedom of speech is fundamental to American democracy, a true statement cannot be considered defamatory no matter how offensive or injurious.

Second, the…

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  • Defamation
  • Jan 11, 2017

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