Torts: Defamation: Defamatory statement identifying P

Δ must make a defamatory statement that specifically identifies the Π
  • A statement is defamatory if it tends to adversely affect the reputation of the Π.
      • Mere name-calling is usually not defamatory because it usually lacks ability to hurt reputation. (“John Smith is an SOB à not reputation)
  • The typical defamatory statement: an allegation or assertion of fact that reflects negatively on a trait of character. [types of character statements on bar]
      • Reflect negatively on honesty, peacefulness (hot tempered), competence (work ability), loyalty, negative implications concerning trait of sexual propriety.
  • Statements of opinion (can go either way). Test: Whether a reasonable listener would conclude that the statement is based on fact.
  • A statement need not be defamatory on its face. Π can offer additional context to established its defamatory impact.
  • Π must be living at the time the statement was made. Dead people can’t be defamed.