Defamation & Privacy Torts

Defamation can be complicated because of the constitutional issues involved, which also impact damages. If the plaintiff in a defamation claim is a public figure, the plaintiff must prove that the defamatory statement was made with actual malice – that is, with reckless disregard to the truth or falsity of the statement. If the plaintiff is a private figure, and the matter is of public concern, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was made negligently. There are two types of public figures: (1) the “all-purpose” public figure or official – a celebrity like Tom Cruise or the president; and (2) the limited-purpose public figure, which is an otherwise private individual who injects himself/herself into a public issue or controversy and becomes a public figure for purposes of that issue or controversy. This is all explained in greater detail in the video and the slides, which are posted below for your convenience.


Video Slides: