Slander is a false and unprivileged statement about another person that is spoken. It must (1) claim that the plaintiff has committed a crime, has an infectious or loathsome disease, or is impotent or unchaste; (2) tends to injure the plaintiff’s business or reputation; or (3) otherwise naturally causes damage to the plaintiff. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant is at fault.

What constitutes a “false statement”?

Only statements of fact—rather than opinion—may be defamatory. The plaintiff must be able to prove, then, that the defendant’s statement (1) was a factual statement, and (2) false.

What degree of fault does the plaintiff need to prove?

If the plaintiff is a public figure, then he or she must prove that the defendant acted maliciously. Otherwise, the plaintiff only needs to prove that the defendant was negligent.