(1) A communication by the defendant to a third person which injures the plaintiff’s good name or reputation; (2) An intentional false communication that is either published or publicly spoken that injures another’s reputation or good name; (3) A statement communicated publicly is defamatory if it tends to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.  The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably, understands that it was intended to express.


Wong v. Jing, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1354, 1369 (2010).

“The elements of a defamation claim are (1) a publication that is (2) false, (3) defamatory, (4) unprivileged, and (5) has a natural tendency to injure or causes special damages.”


Smith v. Maldonado, 72 Cal. App. 4th 637, 645 (1999).

“Defamation is an invasion of interest in reputation.  The tort involves the intentional publication of a statement of fact that is false, unprivileged, and has a natural tendency to injure or which causes special damage.”


 R.F.V. Heuston, Salmond on the Law of Torts 138 (17th ed. 1977).

“The wrong of defamation consists in the publication of a false and defamatory statement concerning another person without lawful justification.  That person must be in being.  Hence not only does an action of defamation not survive for or against the estate of a deceased person, but a statement about a deceased or unborn person is not actionable at the suit of his relatives, however great their pain and distress, unless the statement is in some way defamatory to them.”


 Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 489 (3d ed. 1982).

“Defamation . . . is involved in two related harms, libel and slander.  A familiar statement is that libel is written whereas slander is oral.  This covers the idea in a general way but tends to mislead because defamation may be published without the use of words and hence be neither written nor oral.  Thus libel may be perpetrated by hanging a person in effigy and slander, by sign or gesture.”

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