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Defamation Legal Proceedings: Cases Summarized

The cases below are a summary of cases from the Virginia Supreme Court summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of defamation legal proceedings and the related topic of intentional torts. For more information on defamation see the pages on Wikipedia.

Defamation Legal Proceedings-Statutes

Va. Code § 54.1-3908 as to liability of attorney for words used in proceedings concerning conduct of attorney.

Defamation Legal Proceedings-Cases

2012 Mansfield v. Bernabei, 284 Va. 116, 727 S.E.2d 69.
Distribution to interested persons of draft complaint shortly before it was filed is subject to absolute privilege. Demurrer properly sustained.

2002 Titan Am. v. Riverton Inv. Corp., 264 Va. 292, 569 S.E.2d 57.
A statement made in the course of a judicial proceeding is absolutely privileged if it is material and relevant to the proceeding.

2000 Lockheed Info. Mgmt. Sys. Co. v. Maximus, Inc., 259 Va. 92, 524 S.E.2d 420.
Defamation legal proceedings.False, misleading, or defamatory communications even if published with malicious intent not actionable if they are material to and made in course of judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding. Privilege applies to administrative hearings so long as the safeguards that surround judicial proceedings are present.

1993 Ingles v. Dively, 246 Va. 244, 435 S.E.2d 641.<
Plaintiff alleged defamation based on information provided by defendant to prosecutors in course of criminal proceeding. To recover actual or compensatory damages for defamation, private individual must prove by preponderance of evidence that these statements were false and that defendant either knew statements were false or, believing them to be true, lacked reasonable grounds for such belief or acted negligently in failing to ascertain truth. Jury issue presented as to these questions.

1988 Donohoe Constr. Co. v. Mount Vernon Assocs., 235 Va. 531, 369 S.E.2d 857.
Filing of mechanic’s lien is judicial proceeding and therefore absolute privilege attaches to slander of title claim.

1944 Massey v. Jones, 182 Va. 200, 28 S.E.2d 623.
Absolute privilege protects individual against liability for defamatory words spoken in course of judicial proceeding, when such words are relevant or in response to question. Relevancy in this regard is liberally construed.

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Defamation Legal Proceedings: Cases Summarized

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