Defamation


Legal Assignment 2


1.In order to successfully recover damages for libel or slander, the plaintiff needs to prove the publication; of a defamatory statement; which identifies (or is "of and concerning") the plaintiff; which is objectively capable of being proven materially false; which is published with the requisite degree of fault ("actual malice" in the case of a public official or public figure plaintiff; negligence in the case of a private figure plaintiff); and damages proximately resulting therefrom.


2. The mores are considered when determining whether words are defamatory or not. A case that would be a good illustration of this is St. James Military Acadamy v. Gaiser which in this case, publishing that a school allowed dancing which was harmful to the moral and religious interests of the community was held defamatory. It would be unlikely that such holding would take place today.


3. In Fairyland Amusement Co. v. Metro Media was a broadcast about rapes occurring around amusement park were not of and concerning the owner of the amusement park. The way that this in relation to “of and concerning” is the plaintiff needs to show that defamatory statements were about him, even if the plaintiff is readily identifiable, the defamatory portion of the article must be of and concerning him. In this case as I said the broadcast rapes that were occurring did not concern the owner of the amusement park.


4. Proving falsity is not sufficient to sustain a viable claim for defamation, a libel plaintiff has to prove some degree of fault by the defendant. The degree of fault depends upon the type of plaintiff, but in no event can it be less than negligence (which is the least level).


5. In Missouri the standard or level of fault of a public figure or public official must prove "actual malice". The standard or level of evidence they must prove is by "clear and convincing" evidence.


6. The three types of damages that are recognized in Missouri law is actual, presumes, and punitive.


7. The Defense Privileges are consent, truth, retraction, “libel-proof” plaintiff defense, and privileged communications. Missouri doesn’t have a case suggesting whether neutral reportage is applicable in Missouri.


8. The statue of limitations for action of libel and slander in Missouri lies in the state where the libelous publication was first edited, printed, and distributed.


9. In Missouri Law, once a libel plaintiff dies the cause of action dies with him. There is no survival of a defamation claim.


10. The two cases that are cited that tell us whether or not Missouri law has a right of a defamation claim is Diener v. Star-Chronicle Publishing Co., and Bello v. Random House, Inc.