Pikesville, MD asked in Personal Injury and Libel & Slander for Maryland

Q: How detailed should complaint for Slander be if filing in District Court. Make sure I'm not presenting argument.

I want to give enough detail so the judge knows I have a serious issue that needs the court's judgment but I do not want to be presenting arguement.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: The cause of action in Maryland is called “defamation of character” and it encompasses both verbal (slander) and written (libel) defamatory statements. A sufficient statement of a cause of action requires that you allege sufficient facts to meet each element of the cause of action. You must also be as specific as possible as to the place and time of the allegedly defamatory statements. To prevail on a defamation claim, a plaintiff must establish the following:

(1) That the defendant made a defamatory statement to a third person;

(2) That the statement was false;

(3) That the defendant was legally at fault in making the statement (e.g., knew it was false when made, or should have known it was false, or made it with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false); and

(4) That the plaintiff thereby suffered harm.

Proving damages is usually the hardest part of making a defamation claim.

You can claim punitive damages n Maryland if the false and defamatory statements were made maliciously to cause you harm. Punitive damages must be separately pled is a specific remedy under its own cause of action.

There is a one year statute of limitations for filing suit in a defamation case. It runs from the date the statement if published to a third party. If the defamation occurs in print or online, and is linked to and reappears on other sites or publications, the first date of publication is when the SOL starts running, not from subsequent republications, unless you can prove the person who made the defamatory statement separately published it again.

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