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Legal Memorandum: Abuse of the Privilege in VI

Issue: Under the laws of the Virgin Islands, may the privilege against defamation be lost following an abuse of the privilege?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Abuse; Conditional or qualified privilege; Defamatory statement
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts §599
Date: 11/01/2008

No conditional or qualified privilege can exist if the privilege is “abused”.  Restatement (Second) of Torts §599.  This Restatement section makes clear that “[o]ne who publishes defamatory matter concerning another upon an occasion giving rise to a conditional privilege is subject to liability to the other if he abuses the privilege.”  Id.  Among the circumstances that establish “abuse” are when the defamatory statement is (1) false, and (2)(a) defendant knows it is false; or (b) defendant acts in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Id.

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