Elements of Defamation in New Hampshire
Generally, all of the following conditions must be met to move forward with a defamation claim in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Defamation Element #1: A False Statement of Fact
To win, plaintiffs must prove that their respective defendants made untrue factual statements (about the plaintiff).
If the injurious statement is factual and truthful, you may have a hard time convincing a judge to accept the case. Opinions, typically, are not considered defamatory under New Hampshire law. However, you can’t escape a slander or libel censure by simply tacking “in my opinion” onto a factual statement.
New Hampshire Defamation Element #2: Publication or Distribution
It’s the responsibility of a slander or libel plaintiff to prove that a defendant either published or broadcast the statement to a public audience.
If a defendant can sufficiently prove that he or she engaged in proper due diligence before making the contested statement, then the statement may not be considered slanderous or libelous. If, however, the defendant repeats a damaging statement, but doesn’t confirm its validity, the defendant may be held liable for defamation in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Defamation Element #3: Not Much Is Privileged in NH
In many states, privileged statements aren’t considered defamatory. But New Hampshire doesn’t operate like most states when it comes to this issue. New Hampshire is one of the few jurisdictions where it’s more difficult for a defamation defendant to win using a “privilege”defense.
New Hampshire Defamation Element #4: Evidence of Harm
To win a defamation lawsuit in New Hampshire, the plaintiff must prove how the statement(s) under review caused material harm.
Some statements are considered defamatory by virtue of their content — like accusing someone of a crime or act of moral turpitude. In those cases, the plaintiffs don’t have to prove harm.
New Hampshire’s Standout Defamation Rule With Regards To Employers and Employees
One of the unique aspects of New Hampshire’s defamation laws is the state’s view of employer and employee defamation claims. In most states, if an employer, as a job reference, provides information to a prospective employer, the referenced employer cannot be sued for defamation. As long as the information being provided is truthful, the employer is exempt from a defamation suit. However, in New Hampshire, employers are not protected by law from defamation suits. Whether or not the suit is successful depends on its own merits, but a defamation suit may be brought.
Thanks to our nationwide network of attorneys, Kelly / Warner is able to handle defamation challenges for people living in New Hampshire. A pioneer in the field of Internet defamation law, Kelly / Warner has successfully handled hundreds of libel situations for clients across the country and around the world. We have the experience, and know how to restore excellent reputations, quickly. You may not even have to file a lawsuit. Get in touch today to begin the conversation.