Legal Memorandum: Claim of Negligence or Intentional Defamation

Issue: What is needed to satisfy the publication element of a claim of negligent or intentional defamatory language in Kentucky?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Requirement of publication; Negligence or intentional defamation
Jurisdiction: Kentucky
Cited Cases: 627 S.W.2d 270; 623 S.W.2d 882
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 12/01/2000

As noted by the court in Columbia Sussex Corp., Inc. v. Hay, 627 S.W.2d 270, 273 (Ky. Ct. App. 1981), “[t]he emphasis is not upon the meaning of the remarks as being negligently or intentionally defamatory but rather upon the manner in which such remarks were conveyed.”  Id.  If the words were negligently or intentionally communicated, in such as manner that they were heard by a third party who understood their meaning, then the requirement of publication is satisfied.  Id.  In addition, when plaintiffs are private figures, mere negligence concerning the truth or falsity of the published statement is sufficient to establish defamation.  McCall v. Courier-Journal & Louisville Times Co., 623 S.W.2d 882, 885 (Ky. 1981).  As noted in McCall, an appropriate question is whether a reasonably prudent person would or would not have done the same as the defendant did under the same or similar circumstances.  Id. at 886. 


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