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Constitutional Issues in Defamation

This lesson assumes the basic issues in defamation have already been covered. Before working with this lesson, the lessons on Basic Issues in Defamation and Privileges and Libel and Slander should have already been reviewed. The material here will use that basic information to study the Constitutional issues that now control defamation. Among those issues are public and private figures, actual malice, burdens of proof, and damages.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Give examples of a private figure and a public official.
  2. List the elements of Actual Malice.
  3. Explain the significance of Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps.
  4. Discuss the types of damages available.
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