Harm to Reputation or Economic Interests: Defamation, Libel, & Slander


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Geneva and her friends were celebrating her 30th birthday. After a few too many glasses of champagne, Geneva climbed on a monument in the town center and sang a few verses of Happy Birthday to herself. A crowd gathered and several photojournalists got some pretty incriminating shots. The next day, she saw several social media sites posted her untouched-up photos online. Angered, she cried defamation and initiated a lawsuit. What will likely happen?

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1. Mrs. Crump is a Professor of English at Smartsville University. The students say she is a mean person. The administration at school love how she pushes the students to do their best. A few students tell the college president that Crump hit them with a ruler. Then they posted signs all over campus about her alleged abuse. They even used a photo-enhancing software to create photos of Crump hitting students. As a result of their accusations, Crump was suspended without pay until an investigation is complete. What can Ms. Crump do?

2. Joseph's Seafood Market was preparing for their annual Whale of a Sale on Seafood. The local food critics got the news and one well-intended writer posted an article stating 'Joseph's sells whale filets'. What he meant to write was, 'Joseph's is having a whale of a sale on filets.' People in the community got wind of this and boycotted the store. What can Joseph do?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

There are several conditions that must be in place for defamation to have occurred. Practice questions in this quiz test your understanding of these conditions, as well as provide examples for your interpretation of whether defamation occurred.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

This quiz/worksheet combo will help you check your ability to:

  • Determine if defamation occurred through examples
  • Distinguish between slander and libel
  • Define malice correctly

Skills Practiced

This assessment will test the following skills:

  • Reading comprehension - ensure that you draw the most important information from the related business law lesson
  • Knowledge application - use what you've learned to identify an important element of malice
  • Information recall - access the knowledge you've gained regarding defamation

Additional Learning

Damaging a person's reputation or livelihood through false statements is examined in the lesson titled Harm to Reputation or Economic Interests: Defamation, Libel, & Slander. Through this lesson you will:

  • Define defamation, libel, and slander
  • Understand the role of the plaintiff in a defamation case
  • Differentiate between per se and malice
  • Summarize the Burnett v. National Enquirer, Inc. case
  • Recognize the concept of harm to economic interest