Synonymous with libel and slander.

it is an abusive attack on a person's character or good name or reputation.

Defamation includes calumny – the utterance of maliciously false statements with an intention to injure another person's reputation.



Published false and malicious information that tarnish a person's reputation.

Published information includes:

    Written words.




    Photo captions.


    Tweets, memes, and other social media posts.



Spoken false and malicious information that tarnish a person's reputation.


Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation.


The Effect of Defamation

Defamation exposes a person to:








How Defamation Suits are Resolved

Defamation suits (torts) are resolved by:

  1. Summary judgment: Court determines judgment on case based on the facts at hand without going to trial.
  2. Trial: Court rules that the case can go to trial.


Defamation Trial Process

Step 1: Identification: Can the plaintiff be identified in the defamatory information?

Step 2: Assertion of facts: Is the information defamatory?

Step 3: Falsity Is the information false?

Step 4: Fault: Public figures have to prove actual malice. Private citizens only have to prove             negligence.

Step 5: Damages: Defendant may be order to pay:

    • Actual damages: Related to the damage done by the defamatory information.
    • Punitive damages: Awarded in order to punish the defendant.
    • Apology: Defendant may be ordered to offer an apology and/or retraction of the defamatory information.


topics | Home