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Recent Developments in Oregon Regarding Defamation

An Oregon court ruled that statements made by a pastor were not protected by a qualified privilege, and as a result the pastor could be sued for defamation as a result of statements he made publicly about a member of the congregation.

Oregon
State:
Key point. Statements in church meetings are protected by a qualified privilege. This means that they cannot be defamatory, even if false, unless the person making the statement did so with malice. In this context, malice means a knowledge that the statement was false, or a reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.

An Oregon court ruled that statements made by a pastor were not protected by a qualified privilege, and as a result the pastor could be sued for defamation as a result of statements he made publicly about a member of the congregation. A church member's three children were injured when the car they were driving was struck by the daughter of another church member. The pastor informed the church board, and the congregation itself, that the father whose children were injured was having his children pretend to be injured in order to obtain a larger settlement from the other ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1999

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