Megan E. Lee
Wisconsin Judicare Inc.
Amanda R.R. Mayer
Wisconsin Judicare Inc.
8:30 a.m. : Defamation
- What is defamation?
- The essential elements of a defamation action are:
- A false statement
- Communication of the statement, and
- A tendency by the statement to harm a person’s reputation.
- Wis. Stat. 942.01
- Libel – written
- Slander – oral
- What if the plaintiff is a public figure?
- Higher burden
- Who is considered a public figure? (Including limited public figures)
- The First Amendment
- What is the ‘act’ that differentiates it from speech?
- Defamation does not apply to opinions
9:00 a.m. : Defamation Suits
- Demand Letters
- Court Filings
- Criminal Case vs. Civil Suit
- Relevant statutes:
- Wis. Stat. 802.03 Pleading special matters includes libel or slander
- Wis. Stat. 893.57 Intentional torts
- Wis. Stat. 891.33 Proof of malice in slander and libel
- 895.05 Damages in actions for libel
9:15 a.m. : Defenses
- The Truth
- Absolute defense
- But...how do you prove it?
- Statements to someone other than the defamed
- Intelligently or negligently made
- Identify the person defamed, expressly or by reasonable inference
- Public Figure
- If the plaintiff is a public figure, there must be proof of actual malice.
- Criteria to determine whether a defamation plaintiff is a public figure:
- Public controversy
- Nature of the plaintiff’s involvement in the public controversy
- Privileged From Defamation Suits
- Conditional privilege protecting communications includes:
- Those seeking to protect the communicator’s interest
- Those seeking to protect the interest of the recipient or a third person
- Those seeking to protect a common interest or a family relationship
- Those statements to a person who may act in the public interest
- Privilege can be absolute or qualified
- Statements to LEO
- Statements in confidential or privileged settings
- Permission to publish the statement granted by the plaintiff
10:10 a.m. : Break
10:25 a.m. : Victims of DVSA & Defamation
- Risk assessment of the speech versus the potential damages and costs of defending defamation suits
- Notable public examples:
- Bill Cosby
- Depp v Heard
- Brett Favre (ongoing)
- Social media & Me Too
- Does conditional privilege apply?
- What about content posted private social media groups?
- Anonymous online content
11:20 a.m. : Other States & The National Gaze– Where Can We Look?
- Laws protecting from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation
- SLAPP lawsuits are actions initiated by a party seeking to intimidate, censor, or burden an opponent into dropping a claim or action themselves
- What states have it?
- How do other states handle defamation?
11:40 a.m. : Program Concludes
- Know the required elements of a defamation claim
- Understand the burden of proof in slander and libel claims
- Learn about potential defenses to defamation
- Explore considerations for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
- Civil litigators
- Family law attorneys
- Domestic violence victim advocates
- First Amendment lawyers
- Constitutional lawyers
- Media lawyers
- General practitioners
The Law of Damages in Wisconsin
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*Attendees will receive information to access the free trial and discount via email after attending the program. Discount applies to both print and digital Books UnBound® editions of this title and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Offer valid as long as CLE credit is available for this program. For Books UnBound users, discount may be applied to purchase of individual Books UnBound title only and may not be used on purchase of full library.