Safety and Health Reporter
Brien Roche Law > Blog > Intentional Torts > Slander Per Se

Slander Per Se

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Slander Per Se

Brien Roche

Slander is a form of defamation.

Slander is a form of defamation.  In general, defamation is any false statement which produces injury to a person.  Defamation can come in the form of oral statements in which event it is called slander.  In written form defamation is called libel. Generally it is thought of as an intentional tort. An intentional tort is to be distinguished from a negligent tort. Negligent torts are what we normally think of as causing personal injury . Fairfax personal injury attorney Brien Roche handles both intentional and negligent tort claims.

There are certain types of defamatory or slanderous statements that may be deemed to be privileged.  Any privilege however can be waived if the defamatory statement was made with malice, i.e. an actual intent to hurt the other person.  Certain types of communications are privileged, in particular if they occur within the employment relationship or as part of a judicial proceeding or as part of any communication that is made in good faith on subject matter in which the person making the communication has an interest or owes a duty to so communicate.  Those types of communications may be subject to a qualified privilege and therefore would not be actionable.

Defamatory statements must be statements of fact.  Generally a statement of fact is one that is capable of being proven to be either true or false.  Some examples of statements of opinion are that a particular employee is too verbose or that the employee appears to be unwilling to accept feedback from supervisors or that the employee’s behavior is destructive to the team attitude.  Those are statements of opinion and probably are not actionable.

Slander Per Se Defined

An additional element of any defamation or slander claim is that there must be some arguable damages.  Certain types of defamatory statements are deemed to be defamatory of slanderous per se, i.e. those which impute the commission of some criminal offense involving lying, cheating or stealing, an allegation that the person is infected with some contagious disease, an allegation that the person is unfit to perform the duties of his or her employment and words which prejudice a person in his or her profession or trade.  For instance, calling a lawyer a shyster probably is actionable per se and as a result the lawyer would not need to prove any damages in order to recover.  In such an instance the damage is presumed.  In those actions that are not defamatory per se then the plaintiff has to prove what are called “special damages”, i.e. medical bills or loss of income that is reasonably incurred as a result of the defamatory statement.

In a rather outrageous case reported by the Virginia Supreme Court involving a university official, that official in a student newspaper was described as “director of butt licking”.  The Court held that although the statement was incredibly offensive it was no more than rhetorical hyperbole and therefore not actionable.

For more information on slander see the pages on Wikipedia.

Comments are closed.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Slander Per Se

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Slander Per Se

Brien Roche

Slander is a form of defamation.

Slander is a form of defamation.  In general, defamation is any false statement which produces injury to a person.  Defamation can come in the form of oral statements in which event it is called slander.  In written form defamation is called libel. Generally it is thought of as an intentional tort. An intentional tort is to be distinguished from a negligent tort. Negligent torts are what we normally think of as causing personal injury . Fairfax personal injury attorney Brien Roche handles both intentional and negligent tort claims.

There are certain types of defamatory or slanderous statements that may be deemed to be privileged.  Any privilege however can be waived if the defamatory statement was made with malice, i.e. an actual intent to hurt the other person.  Certain types of communications are privileged, in particular if they occur within the employment relationship or as part of a judicial proceeding or as part of any communication that is made in good faith on subject matter in which the person making the communication has an interest or owes a duty to so communicate.  Those types of communications may be subject to a qualified privilege and therefore would not be actionable.

Defamatory statements must be statements of fact.  Generally a statement of fact is one that is capable of being proven to be either true or false.  Some examples of statements of opinion are that a particular employee is too verbose or that the employee appears to be unwilling to accept feedback from supervisors or that the employee’s behavior is destructive to the team attitude.  Those are statements of opinion and probably are not actionable.

Slander Per Se Defined

An additional element of any defamation or slander claim is that there must be some arguable damages.  Certain types of defamatory statements are deemed to be defamatory of slanderous per se, i.e. those which impute the commission of some criminal offense involving lying, cheating or stealing, an allegation that the person is infected with some contagious disease, an allegation that the person is unfit to perform the duties of his or her employment and words which prejudice a person in his or her profession or trade.  For instance, calling a lawyer a shyster probably is actionable per se and as a result the lawyer would not need to prove any damages in order to recover.  In such an instance the damage is presumed.  In those actions that are not defamatory per se then the plaintiff has to prove what are called “special damages”, i.e. medical bills or loss of income that is reasonably incurred as a result of the defamatory statement.

In a rather outrageous case reported by the Virginia Supreme Court involving a university official, that official in a student newspaper was described as “director of butt licking”.  The Court held that although the statement was incredibly offensive it was no more than rhetorical hyperbole and therefore not actionable.

For more information on slander see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation