If you have ever been sued for defamation, you have probably heard that the truth is an absolute defense. That's a common defense, but there are many different defenses to defamation cases. First, there's the publication requirement, which can be waived for seriously maligning statements. Second, there are certain cases where the defendant can defend himself with the truth, even if he can't justify every single word he says.
The term "absolute" connotes quality that cannot be exceeded or changed. It also implies unvarying, permanent truth. In defamation cases, if someone can show that a statement was untrue, then that person cannot be held responsible. This way, a person can avoid paying damages. However, this defense is not absolute in all jurisdictions. It may be used for certain situations, such as when a person is asked to provide a reference for another individual and feels pressured to give a glowing reference.
There are some cases where a defendant may be shielded from a defamation suit based on their position or status, but the truth is not always an absolute defense. Defamation laws have repeatedly held that a true statement is not enough in some circumstances. The Pennsylvania Superior Court has interpreted this to mean that a defendant cannot claim a defamation claim based on a statement made by someone else. This ruling has a large impact on the way defamation suits are handled.
If the defendant is found guilty of a libel case, the court will not grant him immunity. In those cases, the defendant will have to present the facts that led to the charge. In such a case, the defendant's duty to disclose the facts underlying the criminal charge will be questioned. Similarly, the defendant will be required to prove that his statements were not true. So, the defendant is obligated to explain why he was guilty of the crime.
If the plaintiff is sued for defamation, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was untrue. As a result, the plaintiff's burden of proof will be on the defendant to show that the statement was not true. To establish liability, the plaintiff must prove that the statement was made in good faith with a justifiable purpose. Therefore, truth is an absolute defense, but the plaintiff must avoid numerous defenses against defamation to establish the claim.
Another full defense is privilege. This means that a defendant who made a false statement cannot be sued unless the plaintiff can prove malice on the part of the defendant. If the plaintiff can show that the defendant was aware of the statement, this will not void his privilege. However, if the statement was widely published or had a broader scope, the plaintiff can cancel the privilege. For example, if the plaintiff is a newspaper or has access to information, he cannot sue the media for defamation.