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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Discuss different types of defamation. If Tom Cruise wanted

Resolved Question:

Discuss different types of defamation. If Tom Cruise wanted to sue The National Enquirer in a defamation case, what issues would come up and what types of damages could he collect if the lawsuit were successful?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Defamation is an untrue statement, made to a third party, that harms the reputation of the person about whom the statement is made. The statement must be one of fact - that is, something that may be proven true or false. That means that matters of opinion are not actionable. The plaintiff need only prove that the untrue statement was made, and not whether the speaker was aware that it was untrue. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation. Written defamation is called "libel" and spoken defamation is called "slander."

With certain types of statements, reputational harm is presumed. That means that the plaintiff can recover without even showing that his reputation was harmed. Those types are: statements about a person's chastity, a statement that someone has a loathsome disease, a statement that someone has committed a crime, or a statement that reflects upon a person's ability to do his job.

If Tom Cruise wants to sue The National Enquirer, there is one additional obstacle - because Tom Cruise is a public figure, and The National Enquirer is a newspaper, the first amendment does provide some protection. That means that, for Tom to recover, he must prove that the newspaper either knew that the statement was false, or exhibited a knowing and reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statement. If he can prove that, Tom can recover compensatory damages for the harm to his reputation, plus punitive damage to punish the newspaper for its wrongful conduct.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you!