Defamation occurs when a person(s) say orally (slander), or in writing, broadcast, or internet publication (libel) convey to one or more third party’s false information, or a derogatory opinion such that the reputation of the person identified is diminished.
The Plaintiff must prove that the defamatory passages complained about were made in respect to him/her, that one or more third parties received the defamatory publication, and any particular damages suffered by the subject of the publication.
A Defendant in a defamation action has the burden of proving the impugned facts are true, that an opinion is fair comment, or published on an occasion of qualified privilege. These are technical terms with specific factual requirements.
A defamation action is normally tried before a jury and the jury has the authority to determine the amount, if any, to be paid to a successful plaintiff, or, to dismiss the lawsuit with, or without costs.