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“It Wasn’t Me”

Even if each of the previous factors has been established, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant is actually at fault for the defamation. The Supreme Court established this final factor as a safeguard against the chilling of the freedom of expression, while also encouraging responsible journalism.

Though the “fault” element can be at issue in private matters, it is most relevant to stories published by the press regarding controversial matters of public interest. It is not just the original source that can be sued for defamation; every contributor…

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  • Defamation
  • May 03, 2017

No Harm, No Foul

The point of defamation law is to compensate a victim for unwarranted damages to his or her reputation. Therefore, if a defamatory statement does not cause any harm to the plaintiff, no viable defamation claim exists.

In some cases, a plaintiff may believe he or she has been injured by a false claim, and the plaintiff may even be correct. However, the damage must be to his or her reputation. Defamation law does not compensate a victim for emotional distress or hurt feelings; other branches of tort law are…

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  • Defamation
  • Apr 26, 2017

Are You Talkin’ To Me?

A statement can be defamatory in all respects, but it must be about the plaintiff for a defamation suit to be successful. If the statement is not “of and concerning” (lawyer-speak for “about”) the plaintiff, the suit will not succeed.

Whether a statement is “of and concerning” the plaintiff is often subjective, which leaves a huge amount of grey area for courts and juries to navigate. However, there are a few standout cases that illuminate key issues to help juries determine whether or not a plaintiff satisfies this requirement.

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  • Defamation
  • Apr 19, 2017

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