What does it take to libel or slander someone?

John Barrett & Count Von Bernstorff (LOC)
In the era of instant publishing from anywhere (think Facebook from your phone), it is important to know the kind of statements that might get you in trouble. Yesterday, I explained the difference between libel and slander.

This posts explains what its takes to commit libel or slander because the elements are very similar.

A person who believes they have been libeled or slandered generally need to prove each of the items below to win a claim:

I. a false and defamatory statement,
II. an unprivileged publication to a third party,
III. fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher, and
IV. either the actionability of the statement irrespective of special damage, per se, or the existence of special damage, per quod.

What does this mean in plainer English?

You say something that is not true and negative about another person, that person is not a politician or public figure, you actually meant to say what you said and the statement is bad enough that people would generally think less of the person.

Although its a bit more complicated than this, you get the gist.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."