Public Figures in Defamation Law

Early in the assessment of a defamation action the question arises whether the plaintiff is a “public figure.” Public figures face a more challenging standard of proof than private people. There are two types of public figures in defamation law. The high-profile public figure (such as the Beatles or Bill Gates) is so thoroughly famous or infamous that he or she attains …

“Constitutional Actual Malice” in California Defamation Cases

What is “Constitutional Actual Malice in San Diego, Los Angeles and California defamation cases?  When the plaintiff filing a libel or slander case is a public figure or public official, he or she must show the defendant acted with “constitutional” actual malice. This is a high standard and must be proved with convincing clarity. To protect free speech, the First Amendment bars a public official …

What is “Actual Malice” in San Diego and Los Angeles?

Actual malice is a potential component of many defamation cases, and while it can be quite complicated to establish from a legal point of view the subtleties are somewhat intuitive to most of my clients.  California defamation law permits a plaintiff to recover punitive damages for the publication of libel by newspaper and slander by radio. The plaintiff must first demand that the publisher or broadcaster …

What is “Malice” in Defamation Cases in San Diego and Los Angeles?

What is “Malice” in defamation cases?  My office is handling a libel case in which punitive damages arose. To prove malice (or oppression or fraud — related routes to punitive damages), one needs an idea of what constitutes malice and its partners. The defendant must be guilty of at least one of them and the plaintiff must prove them by an elevated …

How are Libel and Slander created in San Diego and Los Angeles?

A plaintiff can recover damages in various forms for libel and slander. Under California law, libel occurs “by writing, printing, picture, effigy or other fixed representation to the eye,” which exposes a person to “hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which causes her or him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure [a person in her …