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- that a statement was made about the plaintiff's reputation, honesty or integrity that is not true;
- publication to a third party (i.e., another person hears or reads the statement); and
- the plaintiff suffers damages as a result of the statement.
Slander is a form of defamation that consists of making false oral statements about a person which would damage that person's reputation. If one spreads a rumor that his neighbor has been in jail and this is not true, the person making such false statements could be held liable for slander.
Defamation which occurs by written statements is known as libel. Libel also may result from a picture or visual representation. Truth is an absolute defense to slander or libel.
Some statements, while libelous or slanderous, are absolutely privileged in the sense that the statements can be made without fear of a lawsuit for slander. The best example is statements made in a court of law. An untrue statement made about a person in court which damages that person's reputation will generally not cause liability to the speaker as far as slander is concerned. However, if the statement is untrue, the person making it may be liable for criminal perjury.
If a communication is made in good faith on a subject in which the party communicating it has a legitimate right or interest in communicating it, this communication may be exempt from slander liability due to a qualified privileged.
The following form letter demands that someone cease making libelous or slanderous statements, or appropriate legal action will be taken.
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