![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
To qualify as defamatory, a statement must possess the requisite "sting" to one's reputation. The Supreme Court of Virginia has previously stated that defamatory language is that which tends to injure one's reputation in the common estimation of mankind, to throw contumely, shame, or disgrace upon him, or which tends to hold him up to scorn, ridicule, or contempt, or which is calculated to render him infamous, odious, or ridiculous. If language is merely insulting, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate, but constitutes no more than rhetorical hyperbole, then it does not possess the requisite sting to be considered defamatory. Importantly, in deciding whether a statement is defamatory, a court must evaluate it in the context of the publication.
Plaintiff sued defendant for statements that she made in an op-ed published by The Washington Post in 2018. Plaintiff, believed that defendant’s statements falsely characterized him as a domestic abuser, filed his defamation claim. In her Counterclaims, defendant alleged that plaintiff and his agents engaged in an online smear campaign to damage her reputation and cause her financial harm. Plaintiff filed a demurrer against the defendant.
Did plaintiff’s statements contain the requisite sting for an actionable defamation claim?
The plaintiff's statements contained the requisite "sting". The statements implied that the defendant lied and perjured herself when she appeared before a court in 2016 to obtain a temporary restraining order against plaintiff. Moreover, they implied that she had lied about being a victim of domestic violence. Falsely claiming abuse would surely injure defendant’s reputation in the common estimation of mankind.