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Libel, Slander, Defamation is Risky

For the person that asked : "Under Tennessee Law defamation is a cause of action alleging that (1) a defendant published a statement; (2) with knowledge the statement was false or injuring to the reputation of the plaintiff; (3) and the defendant was negligent for failing to ascertain the truth of the statement or the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the truth of the statement. Brown v. Christian Bros. Univ., 428 S.W.3d 38, 50 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013)."

“Publication is a term of art meaning the communication of defamatory matter to a third person.” Quality Auto Parts Co. v. Bluff City Buick, 876 S.W.2d 818, 821 (Tenn.1994). Caselaw has established that all types of communication are covered; new technology for communication does not act as a shield against defamation liability. The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that self-publication does not satisfy the publication element of defamation, even when the publication is compelled in the employment setting. Sullivan v. Baptist Mem’l Hosp., 995 S.W.2d 569, 575 (Tenn. 1999).

"If the Plaintiff is a public figure, then a higher standard of “actual malice” applies."

"Defamation is a cause of action for written or spoken words that harm or injure the reputation of the plaintiff. Defamation requires publication, knowledge, negligent or reckless disregard for the truth, and injury to the plaintiff’s character and reputation including actual damages. There are many affirmative defenses defendants may assert against claims of defamation." Cole Law Group Attorneys Brentwood, TN


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