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One, to sustain a defamation case (which includes slander and/or libel), a person ("Person A") must prove 4 things: (i) another person ("Person B") conveyed a defamatory message they knew or should have known to be false; (ii) the material was published (i.e., conveyed to someone other than Person A); (iii) Person A can be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and (iv) Person A suffered an injury to Person A's reputation as a result of the communication.
A frequent defense against a claim of defamation is that the statement was nothing more than an "opinion." The opinion defense guidelines were established in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co. In that case, the Supreme Court defined two categories of opinion protected by the First Amendment that would not constitute defamation. One, statements that are not “provable as false,” meaning the language cannot be proved true or false by a core of objective evidence. This would include any statement of subjective belief based on disclosed true facts. Two, statements that cannot reasonably be interpreted as stating actual facts...i.e., “loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language which would negate the impression that the writer was seriously maintaining” an actual fact, or where the “general tenor of the article” negates the impression that actual facts are being asserted.