Elements of a Claim

statue-of-liberty serious charges

In an action for defamation, the plaintiff must show:

(1) the defamatory character of the communication;

(2) publication by the defendant;

(3) its application to the plaintiff;

(4) understanding by the recipient of its defamatory meaning;

(5) understanding by the recipient of it as intended to be applied to the plaintiff;

(6) special harm to the plaintiff; and 

(7) abuse of a conditionally privileged occasion. See Davis v. Res. for Human Dev., 2001 PA Super 73 (2001), citing Rush v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., 1999 PA Super 141, 732 A.2d 648, 651-52 (Pa.Super. 1999) (quoting Maier v. Maretti, 448 Pa. Super. 276, 671 A.2d 701, 704 (Pa.Super. 1995)).

Additionally, suit must be commenced in a timely manner. There is a short, one year statute of limitations period for defamation of character in Pennsylvania. During that time, you must engage an attorney and have that person actually file your law suit in state or federal court within the statute of limitations period.

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