In Tennessee, defamation occurs when one party damages the character or reputation of another party. Libel is written defamation; slander is spoken defamation; and the TN defamation statute of limitations is a mere six months.
Tennessee courts employ a 4-prong defamation test. For a statement to be considered libelous or slanderous, it must:
- Be false;
- Have caused harm to befall the plaintiff;
- Be about the plaintiff; and
- Have been published or broadcast negligently, with reckless disregard for the truth, or with actual malice.
Tennessee, like every state, must adhere to federal slander and libel statutes.