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Defamation and "Qualified Privilege"

Claims made to others concerning a matter of common interest generally are protected.

Texas
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Key point. Statements made to others concerning a matter of common interest generally are protected by a "qualified privilege," meaning that they cannot be defamatory unless made with malice. Statements are made with legal malice if they are made with a knowledge that they are false, or with a reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity.

A Texas court ruled that a church was not liable for defaming a former secretary as a result of statements made to church members claiming that she had misappropriated church funds. A church operated a private school. Its minister of education, who also served as principal of the school, resigned after admitting that he misappropriated church funds, destroyed church records, forged signatures, and committed other criminal acts. He later pleaded guilty to criminal charges for his admitted conduct in misappropriating school funds. He informed the ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1997