Apropos Not Much, Part III

I’m just fascinated by the conversation with myself I started about a month ago, about how Defamation law works in  Minnesota.

Today – via this very helpful site – I’ll move on to the second element of a defamation case; there’s gotta be a third party:

B. The Statement was published to third persons

Defamatory statements must be communicated to a third party. You cannot defame someone by speaking to them alone, or by muttering to yourself. This element of defamation is virtually always satisfied when claims are made against newspapers and broadcast media.

Or, for example, when you write something false about someone in an email that only the other party sees (or is intended to see)?  .Or you say it to them on the phone, or when you’re at adjacent urinals in an otherwise-empty public rest room?  There’s no third party – and therefore there’s no defamation.  Your case is headed for a dismissal.

Write it on a blog, or on a social media site?  Like Twitter, to pick a totally hypothetical example?  Especially when other people chime in that they saw the defamatory communication?  As we’ve seen, there are three other criteria that need to be met – but that whole “third party” thing will be covered.

Tomorrow – what does “False” mean?

Again – this whole thing is just an unabashed flight of fancy.  No more.

4 thoughts on “Apropos Not Much, Part III

  1. It can be fascinating stuff, when you’ve got the proper motivation.

    It’s like learning to windmill, only with language.

  2. I’m so entertained by your ongoing series on defamation, libel, and slander. I’m so looking forward to where this is going, since I have a pretty good idea where it started.

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