Court Overturns $60k Verdict Against Blogger Who Told The Truth
from the about-time dept
Thankfully, Hoff appealed, and the appeals court has now reversed the original ruling. The appeals court made the point clearly and concisely:
Because truth is an absolute defense to a claim for defamation, truth should also be a defense to a claim for tortious interference with a contract arising out of an allegedly defamatory statement.The court goes into much more detail over its decision to reverse and send it back to the lower court, but it all comes back to the basics. If the content is truthful, then there's no issue:
Moore argues that Hoff is not shielded from tort liability simply because Moore could not prove the falsity of Hoff’s statement. Rather, Moore urges us to rely instead on Hoff’s motivation for making the allegedly defamatory statements. Moore asserts that because Hoff had an ulterior motive of getting Moore fired, he can be liable for the tortious-interference claims. We disagree.It's good that the courts seem to have fixed the earlier decision, but it's still crazy that it even got this far.
When a person conveys unflattering and possibly damaging information to another person’s employer, it is unlikely that the motivation for conveying that information is borne out of affection. It is much more likely that the intent is for the employer to take responsive action -- up to and including termination -- based on the content of that information. Regardless of the motivation of the messenger, if the information conveyed is true, it is not appropriate for liability to attach.