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Defamation-Truth: Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

The cases below are a compilation of cases from the Virginia Supreme Court summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of truth as a defense in defamation and the related topic of intentional torts.For more information about defamation see the pages on Wikipedia

2006 Parson v. Carroll, 272 Va. 560, 636 S.E.2d 452.

Defamation Truth-Cases

In this defamation action, Plaintiff had entered an Alford plea to criminal charges arising out of the allegedly defamatory statements. In making that plea plaintiff did not make any concessions of fact which through the doctrine of judicial estoppel would raise a legal bar to his defamation action. As such, it was error for trial court to grant summary judgment to defendant. The doctrine of judicial estoppel is designed to prohibit a party from assuming successive positions in an action or a series of actions regarding the same facts or state of facts which are inconsistent with each other. In regards to the Alford plea plaintiff did not assert any factual position and as such there was no estoppel.

2002 American Commc’n Networks v. Williams, 264 Va. 336, 568 S.E.2d 683.

Defamation truth.In this defamation case, trial court erred in confirming jury verdict for plaintiff because statements in the alleged defamatory publications are either opinions which are not actionable or have been admitted as true. The alleged statement in part is that the defendant replaced the management team at ACN Energy due to its failure to establish effective operations, which constituted an opinion.

1993 Shenandoah Pub’g House v. Gunter, 245 Va. 320, 427 S.E.2d 370.

There can be no actionable defamation without plaintiff proving falsity of statement.

1958 Haycox v. Dunn, 200 Va. 212, 104 S.E.2d 800.

Defamation truth.Question for jury was not simply whether language was true or whether defendant had reasonable grounds to believe it was true, but whether in point of fact they honestly believed it to be true and published it without malice in fair self defense or in reasonable protection of their own interests.

1956 Alexandria Gazette Corp. v. West, 198 Va. 154, 93 S.E.2d 274.

Defamation truth.It is not necessary to prove literal truth of statements made. Slight inaccuracies of expression are immaterial provided defamatory charge is true in substance.

1956 Saleeby v. Free Press, Inc., 197 Va. 761, 91 S.E.2d 405.

When defense of truth is interposed, literal truth of statements need not be proved. It is enough if libelous statements are substantially true.

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Defamation-Truth: Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

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