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Recent Developments in Ohio Regarding Libel and Slander

An Ohio court ruled that a letter addressed by a church official to "members and friends" of the church, in which he explained why the church board dismissed a church secretary, might have been defamatory.

Ohio
State:
Key point. Statements communicated by church leaders to church members concerning matters of "common interest" are protected by a "qualified privilege". This means that they cannot be defamatory unless they are uttered with "legal 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. The qualified privilege does not apply if information is shared with nonmembers.

An Ohio court ruled that a letter addressed by a church official to "members and friends" of the church, in which he explained why the church board dismissed a church secretary, might have been defamatory. A woman was employed as an office secretary for her church for approximately eight years. In May of 1996, she was informed by church officials that her employment was being terminated. The woman claimed that church ...

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Posted:
  • November 2, 1998