• General field for defamation law
Defamation is a damaging and untruthful expression of information made in a public setting or through publicly accessible means. The potential plaintiff to be involved in transacting a defamation lawsuit on the basis of having been named by and thereby damaged through the defamatory statement will generally become involved on the basis of his or her quality or character impugned, or that of an item of tangible or intangible property possessed by or otherwise associated with that plaintiff. Libel and slander are the 2 main forms of defamation considered under U.S. law.
• Libel/slander distinction
The main difference between libel and slander stems from the form in which an act of defamation is committed. Defamation can be classified as either slander or libel based, respectively, on it being made public in transitory or more permanent form.
Slander.the transitory form of defamation, will most often be claimed to have occurred, on the part of plaintiffs and their lawyers, when a statement of defamation was made in the form of verbal expression. A clearly presented meaning could also be made through the presentation of a bodily gesture and supply the basis for a defamation case for slander.
Libel, on the other hand, is considered the permanent form of defamation, as will thus affect the options and chances for success open to plaintiffs and lawyers transacting such suits. Accordingly, libel is most often made through the specific medium of print.
• U.S. legal context for defamation, libel & slander
Litigation against the general offense of defamation and the more specifically cited forms of libel or slander can proceed in the U.S. under the legal system’s origin in the British common law system’s conception as “common law,” as opposed to the more codified legal systems observed in other legal systems which were not influenced by a period of tenure under the British Empire. Variability between American states can also influence how defamation cases for the claim of libel or slander might applicably proceed.
• Criminal/civil defamation
Both the U.S. civil and criminal infrastructures of law allow for cases of defamation, coming either in the form of slander or libel, to be prevented, responded to, or retaliated against by legal entities involved.
o Per se concept and First Amendment applicability
In the U.S., 46 American states have transacted state-level legislation providing a means through which cases of defamation, as occurring in either of the potentially applicable forms of slander or libel, which do not require the case for damages to be proved in such a lawsuit. This kind of cases is referred to as per se litigation, and requires only that proof be brought as to the absence of truthfulness in the case at stake. On the other hand, defamation litigation plaintiffs and lawyers carrying out cases brought on this basis will have to consider the wide applicability of U.S. freedom of expression and freedom of speech rights guaranteed to the nation’s citizens and residents according to the coverage of the First Amendment.