Now, slander and libel are two sides of the same coin - defamation
. Slander is simply oral defamation and libel is written defamation.
Now, how are damages calculated? There are generally TWO types of damages: ACTUAL and PUNITIVE.
ACTUAL damages are damages that can be proven as financial loss.PUNITIVE damages
are damages that are not really arising from actual financial loss, but are added to "make an example" out of the individual.
In defamation cases, normally, one is awarded ACTUAL DAMAGES, but they have to be proven
. PUNITIVE damages are awarded in cases of oppressive conduct, fraud or malice towards the plaintiff. Cal. Civ. Code § 3294(a)
. "Defamation plaintiffs who do not prove such malice by clear and convincing proof are limited to recovery for actual injury." Miami Herald Pub. Co. v. Ane, 458 So. 2d 239 - Fla: Supreme Court 1984
In defamation per se
cases, ACTUAL damages are ASSUMED. A plaintiff need not show special damages
(e.g., damages to the plaintiff's property, business, trade, profession or occupation, including expenditures that resulted from the defamation) if the statement is defamation per se. A statement is defamation per se if it defames the plaintiff on its face, that is, without the need for extrinsic evidence to explain the statement's defamatory nature. See Cal. Civ. Code § 45a; Yow v. National Enquirer, Inc. 550 F.Supp.2d 1179, 1183 (E.D. Cal. 2008).
However, PUNITIVE damages would still be filed if shown oppressive conduct, fraud or malice towards the plaintiff.
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