First & Last Page
Defamation law has had a bumpy ride lately. Designed as a mechanism for the restoration of unfairly sullied reputations, recent high-profile cases have revealed the tort’s limitations in the era of social media saturation and virality. Some of these cases should never have been brought, while others would more naturally have been based in other torts, including intentional infliction of emotional distress or interference with business relations.
Beginning with a brief, targeted history of defamation law that focuses on its essential purpose, this article then discusses several recent, high-profile cases that have both exposed the limitations of defamation law and suggested a way forward. Working in reverse from the damages sought in several cases involving celebrities and other public figures, this article argues for limiting defamation to its proper office as a means of reputational repair, while sorting other cases into more appropriate intentional tort categories.
John G. Culhane,
Defamation in the Twenty First Century: Some Observations and a Brief Taxonomy,
Lincoln Mem’l U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/lmulrev/vol10/iss3/2