Idaho Defamation Laws
Defamation in Idaho is anything that directs degradation, ridicule, contempt, hate, or disgrace to a person or business.
The Idaho statute of limitations for defamation is two years. This means that a plaintiff has two years from the time the alleged defamatory statement was made to file a cause of action against a defendant.
Defining who is a Public Figure
A person is considered a public figure in Idaho if the person is well-known or can be known by virtue of his or her public office. Public figures must prove actual malice existed on the part of the defendant in order to litigate a slander or libel case successfully.
Private persons, on the other hand, only need to prove negligence or “failure to exercise due care.” In either case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant communicated defamatory material to a third party without regard for the truth or negative impact imposed on the plaintiff.
Idaho Defamation Defenses
There are certain defenses for defamation that are allowed within the scope of Idaho’s defamation statutes. The most common are:
- Truth based on objective facts;
- Fair Report Privilege and Other Types of Professional Privilege;
- Lack of Harm; and
- Not negligent;
Idaho is a Per Se State
Idaho recognizes defamatory per se claims, meaning that certain types of statements are false and malicious on their face. Examples include:
- Criminal accusations;
- Assertions of a taboo disease;
- Accusations of moral turpitude;
In cases such as these, the plaintiff does not have to prove actual damages because these types of statements are in and of themselves defamatory.
A Remedy to Defamation before a Cause of Action is Filed
Should the plaintiff demand corrective action on the part of the defendant to retract or correct a defamatory statement, the defendant has 20 days from formal notice to remedy the matter. The correction or retraction must be made in a conspicuous manner.
If the demand is not met by day 21, the plaintiff is eligible for exemplary damages, along with actual damages.
Damages Awarded for Defamation in Idaho
Among the damages for defamation in Idaho include:
- Punitive Damages
- Compensatory Damages
- Emotional and Mental Distress