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LIBEL AND SLANDER

LIBEL AND SLANDER occur when a person or entity communicates false information that damages the reputation of another person or entity. Slander occurs when the false and defamatory communication is spoken and heard. Libel occurs when the false and defamatory communication is written and seen. The laws governing libel and slander, which are collectively known as DEFAMATION, are identical.
A plaintiff who wishes to sue an individual or entity for libel or slander has the burden of proving four claims to a court: First, the plaintiff must show that the DEFENDANTcommunicated a defamatory statement. Second, the plaintiff must show that the statement was published or communicated to at least one other person besides the plaintiff. Third, the plaintiff must show that the communication was about the plaintiff and that another party receiving the communication could identify the plaintiff as the subject of the defamatory message. Fourth, the plaintiff must show that the communication injured the plaintiff’s reputation.
There are four general defenses to slander and libel. 
Truth is an absolute defense. Consent by the plaintiff for the publication of the defamatory statement is a defense. Accidental publication of the statement is a defense. Finally, the statements of certain defendants in certain circumstances, such as lawyers, judges, jurors, and witnesses, are protected from defamation for PUBLIC POLICY reasons. This type of protection is known as privilege.

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