Alaska Defamation: Legal Overview

Alaska defamation laws and lawyer
Alaska Defamation Laws

Defining Defamation in Alaska

A plaintiff bringing a defamation claim in Alaska must establish that:

  • The defendant communicated the statement to a third party;
  • The remark under review is untrue; and
  • The defendant knowingly made a false and defamatory statement.

Alaska defamation statute of limitation: 2 years.

Private Figure or Public Figure

A public figure in Alaska is any individual recognizable by a “reasonable person” as being famous, or someone who acts in an official capacity.

Alaska Defamation Defenses

Under Alaska defamation law, the following are workable defenses against slander or libel charges:

  1. Truth;
  2. Privilege;
  3. Opinion;

Remember, though, that plaintiffs bear the burden of proving defendants acted with actual malice or negligence.

Alaska Defamation Per Se 

Plaintiffs filing defamation per se claims in Alaska don’t have to prove economic loss, only that a false and malicious statement was made.

Plaintiffs may bring claims of defamation per se against a defendant who allegedly:

  • made statements to cause harm to a person’s business,
  • allege sexual promiscuity or horrible disease, or
  • made a false statement about the plaintiff committing a crime.

An important note about defamation per se in Alaska

In 1962, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Fairbanks Publishing Co. v. Pitka that in order for a publication to be libelous per se, the words used by the publication must be so unambiguous that there is only one way to interpret what the defendant said or published.

In Alaska defamation per quod cases, the plaintiffs must prove actual damages.

Defamation Damages Under Alaska Law

Under Alaska law, plaintiff winners of slander and libel lawsuits are entitled to pecuniary damages — both punitive and compensatory.

Remember, if a plaintiff files a defamation per se suit against the defendant, he or she does not have to prove damages because defamation per se presumes that the statement is, in and of itself harmful.

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Thanks to our nationwide network of attorneys, Kelly / Warner is able to handle Alaska defamation cases. Get in touch today with an Alaskan defamation lawyer.