Cause of Action: Defamation

From Smith v. Martin, COA 2/4/2011

To establish a claim for defamation, the following elements must exist: “[1.] defamatory language, [2.] about the plaintiff, [3.] which is published, and [4.] which causes injury to reputation.” Stringer v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 151 S.W.3d 781,793 (Ky. 2004)(footnote omitted). A claim of defamation may be defeated by establishing the truth of the matter asserted which is an absolute defense. Additionally, a defamation claim may be defeated by assertion of a “privilege.” A privilege is recognized as a defense to a defamation claim; the defense may be either absolute or qualified. An absolute privilege affords a defendant a complete defense to a claim of defamation; whereas, a qualified privilege only affords a defendant a conditional defense to a claim of defamation. Both privileges are pivotal to the resolution of this appeal.

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