Justification

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“Liability for publication of defamatory matter may be defeated by a privilege to publish the defamation. One who publishes defamatory matter within the scope of an absolute privilege is immune from liability regardless of occasion or motive. However, such a privilege may be lost if the publisher exceeds the scope of his privilege by publishing the defamation to unauthorized parties.” Miketic v. Baron, 450 Pa. Super. 91, 675 A.2d 324, 327 (Pa.Super. 1996) (quoting Agriss, 483 A.2d at 461).

Precedent in Pennsylvania case law supports the above. According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Williams v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 337 Pa. 17 (1939): “The principle upon which the doctrine of defeasible immunity rests is that the public interest and the advantage of freedom of publication, in each particular class of cases thus protected, outweigh the occasional private and personal damage thereby caused. It is deemed in certain classes of cases more advantageous for the community at large that particular individuals should occasionally be damaged with impunity, than that men under the exceptional circumstances should not be at liberty to speak and publish what they reasonably believe to be true, although it may be defamatory of the character of individuals. Or as it is expressed in some cases, “A statement made in good faith relating to a subject in which the person making the communication is interested or in regard to which he has a social or moral duty, when made to one having a like interest or duty, is privileged . . .”: Nagle v. Nagle, 316 Pa. 507, 512; Echard v. Morton, 26 Pa. Superior Ct. 579, 582; Restatement of the Law of Torts, Vol. 3, sec. 595 (1).

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