Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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23

Defamation requires communication to a third-party I can say (or write) anything I want about a person directly to that person and, unless it is a threat, they have no recourse at all. I can call them a liar, a thief, a Nazi, or a goat fornicator. Of course, I have to be careful – calling them a “bastard” might be a slur on their mother communicated to a ...


16

The purpose of that disclaimer is not to prevent reprimands or legal action. It's really as simple as it appears -- it's to inform the readers that the tweets in fact contain the opinion of the person who wrote them and are not intended to be understood as the official position as that person's employer. This is especially important for people who ...


16

Dale M's answer pretty much covers it, but it sounds like this is a case of misunderstanding by the former employee rather than an actionable accusation. The way you have edited the documents will not harm his defence - if the details you removed are considered relevant, the court will order you to produce unedited documents. At that point, reproducing the ...


14

That's the danger of doing legal research on the internet. That Forbes article quotes several different attorneys, and they all make the point of saying that those disclaimers are meaningless copy/pasta that is all over the Internet, and they won't protect for a few different reasons. You can either take their advice, or the explanations here on Law SE; or, ...


10

From http://grammarist.com/usage/libel-slander/: (emphasis mine) Libel is the use of false, defamatory claims about someone in written or printed form. Slander likewise denotes false statements that damage a person’s reputation, but it is committed orally or in any other transient form So a false claim satisfying the definition of defamation would be ...


8

You can always be sued, but truth is an absolute defense to libel. Your actions could be perceived in any way imaginable. What usually matters for legal purposes is how a "reasonable person" would perceive them. As an example, Pennsylvania's Megan's Law Website warns: Any person who uses the information contained herein to threaten, intimidate, or ...


8

Calling a person a pedophile is not legal in a strict sense (ignoring for now if he is factually a pedophile; if he is, it's not illegal since it's true) because a statement like that is considered libel per se, or is clearly libelous on its face. Libel is defamation and defined as a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to someone's ...


7

No, it doesn't protect the employee from reprimand or legal action, however, it does give the employer a stronger defence to legal action. The employee is stating that they are "on a frolic of their own" and a plaintiff could not rely, as they normally could, that the acts on an employee are the acts of the employer. Of course, this would only be one piece ...


7

No, the truth of the statement is the defense. It is true that The New York Times reported that A did X, even if it is false that A did X. Your claim is about the NYT, not about A. If you just repeat the false allegation (republishing it), that is libel.


6

The relevant question for libel under US law is "would a reasonable person understand this to be a statement of fact about the plaintiff, or to imply a statement of fact about the plaintiff." It doesn't directly matter if the name was changed or not; what matters is if a reasonable person would think the statements in question are talking about an actual ...


5

Yes Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation


5

There are four criteria used today in the United States: The statement was false, but was claimed as true. The statement must have been made to a third, previously uninvolved party. The statement must have been made by the accused party. The statement caused harm. The first (and very important) criterion was discussed in New York Times v. Sullivan, where ...


5

By changing the name, the filmmakers are signaling that the character in the movie is not acting the way the real-life person acted. It is not uncommon for historical fiction--which is basically what the "Moneyball" film is--to combine historical characters for narrative purposes, or to invent new characters to drive the plot. If you see a movie where Henry ...


5

Statutes of limitations (hereinafter "SOL") vary from jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction. If it is only one-year in New York (I've not confirmed this) that would not be surprising. SOLs exist for all civil matters and nearly all criminal matters. I'd just like to point out that your question is not really limited to defamation or to the time frame for which the ...


5

It probably would not be, since Trump is a public figure. The ostensibly libeling party would have to act with "actual malice", with "knowledge that the information was false" or that it was published "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.


4

A statement cannot be libel unless it actually identifies the plaintiff to defame him. The identification need not be by name, but it must be specific enough that the public would be able to determine who the statement referred to. You can read more about this concept at Prof. Eugene Volokh on Libel Law Therefore, if nobody other than the plaintiff or ...


4

There's really no difference. Quoting from here, What if I change the person's name? To state a defamation claim, the person claiming defamation need not be mentioned by name—the plaintiff only needs to be reasonably identifiable. So if you defame the "government executive who makes his home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," it is still reasonably ...


4

There's an interesting philosophical debate you can have. By the plain text of the First Amendment, it protects libel. Aside: Yes, the First Amendment does apply to libel cases. A libel case, like all lawsuits, involves the government's judicial branch using its coercive power to make you pay money as a result of your speech, based on a law requiring you to ...


4

If you state, to a third person, that Joe has performed a criminal act then that is defamation and you can be sued. Unless it is true. However, if you are relying on the truth as a defence you will need to provide evidence that it is. At the moment you lack: a criminal conviction of Joe any physical evidence against Joe any personal knowledge that Joe has ...


4

Sure Obama can sue Trump for defamation. Libel is a civil offense and committing libel is not a part of Trump's role as president. Regarding official acts, the President is immune. But not for personal acts. See Is the US President immune from civil lawsuits? But a libel action would be difficult to win; they're both public figures, which makes the ...


4

Yes, a statement made to only a single other person can be defamation, at least in the US (you don't mention the jurisdiction that you or the accused person are in, and it may matter). Only the accused person can normally sue, and that person would need to establish that the statement was made, and that it was false. In most cases actual damage to ...


4

People saying things like that is routine in legal proceedings. It sounds like he's not so interested in defaming you as trying to challenge the data. The right to challenge the validity of data is the foundation of the British style legal system, and it's in America's Constitution. Any judge in a civilized country should jealously protect that right. ...


3

tl;dr No, N.Y. Times v. Sullivan established the actual malice standard in the context of defamation. It is not illegal for a public figure to claim the sun revolves around the Earth unless some other law intervenes (maybe something fact-dependant like fraud or lying under oath). Background Here's an example of how N.Y. Times would work in California. ...


3

Defamation per se (thus libel per se) pertains to the nature of the statement and the question of whether there was harm done to the person. For some accusatory statements, it must be proven that the statement actually caused damage to the person. If the statement falls into one of 4 categories, it can be defamation per se, meaning that by its nature it ...


3

Presumably you mean "and make untrue accusations of wrong-doing". In the US, defamation involves statements about a legal person, and a place, government or government body, or industry is not a legal personal (a specific business can be, however). In the course of "defaming" a city, you might end up defaming a supposedly fictitious individual who bears a ...


3

Yes, quite a number of times, for example, Daniel FETLER v. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 1966. Rodney Smolla, a leading scholar on defamation, said: When an author wants to draw from a real person as the basis for a fictional character, there are two relatively "safe" courses of action from a legal perspective: First, the author may make little or no ...


3

In general, one defense against libel is to prove that your statements are true. If your employer sues you for libel, and you do not dispute that you ran the ads, you would need to prove that your claims are true. You may personally be sure that your claims are not in fact libelous (because you know they are true), but the relevant concern here is whether ...


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