Slander Per Se
With regard to oral statements, the plaintiff needs to show actual damages to his or her reputation; however, there is one exception, namely slander per se. This is a type of slander that is inherently damaging. The courts excuse a plaintiff’s burden to prove actual damages in such an instance. These include the following:
*Attacks on a person’s professional character or standing;
*Allegations that an unmarried person is unchaste;
*Allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude;
Otherwise, concerning oral statements, the plaintiff may need to prove damage to her reputation through witness testimony.
LAW CONCERNING SLANDER PER SE
According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Williams v. Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., 337 Pa. 17 (1939): “Where a crime is imputed by the spoken language, the court must determine whether the crime is of such a character as to make the slander actionable per se: Restatement of the Law of Torts, Vol. 3, sec. 615 (1). Here the crimes imputed were larceny as to Wells and the receiving of stolen goods as to Williams, indictable offenses punishable by imprisonment. Hence the slander was actionable per se ( Lukehart v. Byerly, 53 Pa. 418, 420; Beck v. Stitzel, 21 Pa. 522, 525; Restatement of the Law of Torts, Vol. 3, sec. 571), and no immunity existing, the jury properly awarded damages to plaintiffs.”
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