What Is The 'Requirement Of Fault' In Defamation Cases?
The requirement of fault in defamation cases is simply the standard of which the person who made the defamatory statement used. Was it a mistake, was it done intentionally, was it done maliciously? Public figures are entitled to a higher standard of fault. In other words, if I make a statement about a public figure and it's not true, since the public figure has voluntarily thrust himself into the public light, that public figure will have to prove that I made the statement maliciously with intent to harm him. But if I simply made the statement negligently, that public figure won't have a case against me. Whereas if it's a private person and I make a statement about that private person who has not put himself in the public light, then the degree of fault would be mere negligence. The degree of fault against that public figure would be malice. So that's basically what fault is. It's the standard of care used in making the statement but is directly related to the type of plaintiff. Public figures require malicious statement, private figures require a mere negligence statement that is false.
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