Instances of possible defamation present complicated issues of law, fact, (admissible) evidence, judge and juror views, etc. – for example, consider 1 and 2 below, and some of the possible issues.

1.  If third party person or a victim alleges that someone else committed a wrongdoing, in what circumstances can that constitute a defamatory statement against the alleged wrongdoer?

2.  When the alleged wrongdoer denies the allegations, in what circumstances can that denial constitute a defamatory statement against the person who made the allegation?

– For both 1 and 2, we need to evaluate the words that were used, and the venue and circumstances relating to how and where the words were published and disseminated.

– Are the words defamatory or not? What is “defamation” – very generally and broadly: a false statement of purported or deemed fact (v. opinion), that is made about a person to a third party (published), if the statement is unprivileged, is negligently, recklessly or intentionally made, and results in and causes damage to the person’s reputation.  

– Is the statement false? Is the statement negative? Truth is a defense to defamation.

– Are the words of fact or of opinion or of something other than fact, or perhaps over-generalizations or substantially true?

– Are the words oral (slander) or written (libel)? Different rules apply to each.

– Is the person a public person/figure or a limited-purpose public person/figure?

– Is the subject matter of the statement at issue because of something that the person said?

– Is the statement or the manner or venue in which it was published unprivileged?

– Is the statement topic or subject matter of public or common interest?

– Is the statement classified as per se defamatory or per quod? Different rules apply to each.

– Does the statement cause damages to the person – general or special damages?

– Consider other defenses that might apply, if any.

– Consider which person(s) have the burdens of proof.

– Consider the culpability or degree of wrongful intent that must be established.

– Consider whether other possible areas of law, duties and rights might be relevant or involved, such as privacy, for example.

– On all issues we need to know the evidence that is obtainable and that is admissible at trial.

Instances of possible defamation (and other possible areas such as privacy) present complicated issues of law, fact, (admissible) evidence, judge and juror views, etc. . . . .

* * * *

Regards, and best to you,

David Tate, Esq.

Thank you for reading. Please do pass this blog and blog post and information to other people who would be interested as it is only through collaboration and sharing that great things and success are more quickly achieved.

David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)

  • Business litigation and disputes – business, breach of contract/commercial, co-owners, shareholders, investors, founders, workplace and employment, environmental, D&O, governance, boards and committees.
  • Trust, estate and probate court litigation and disputes – trust, estate, probate, elder and dependent abuse, conservatorship, POA, real property, mental health and care, mental capacity, undue influence, conflicts of interest, and contentious administrations.
  • Governance, boards, audit and governance committees, investigations, auditing, ESG, etc.
  • Mediator and facilitating dispute resolution:
    • Trust, estate, probate, conservatorship, elder and dependent abuse, etc.
    • Business, breach of contract/commercial, owner, shareholder, investor, etc.
    • D&O, board, audit and governance committee, accountant and CPA related.
    • Other: workplace and employment, environmental, trade secret.

Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation, or as or for my opinions and views on the subject matter.

Also note – sometimes I include links to or comments about materials from other organizations or people – if I do so, it is because I believe that the materials are worthwhile reading or viewing; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t or might not have a different view about some or even all of the subject matter or materials, or that I necessarily agree with, or agree with everything about or relating to, that organization or person, or those materials or the subject matter.

Please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

My two blogs are: – business, D&O, audit committee, governance, compliance, etc. – previously at

Trust, estate, conservatorship, elder and elder abuse, etc. litigation and contentious administrations

David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing only as an attorney in California.

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