Defamation in Alabama

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to Alabama, 5 helpful votes



Woman's Chastity

Words falsely imputing woman's chastity actionable. Any words written, spoken, or printed of any woman falsely imputing to her a want of chastity are actionable without proof of special damages.


Burden of Proof

In an action for libel or slander, the plaintiff must prove, unless it shall be admitted by the defendant, the facts showing that the alleged defamatory matter was published or spoken of the plaintiff.


Mitigation of Damages

In all actions of slander or libel, the truth of the words spoken or written or the circumstances under which they were spoken or written may be given in evidence under a general denial in mitigation of the damages.


Mitigation of Damages - Retraction

The defendant in an action of slander or libel may prove under a general denial in mitigation of damages that the charge was made in good faith by mistake or through inadvertence or misapprehension, and that he has retracted the charge in the same medium of publication as the charge was originally promulgated and in a prominent position therein.


When only Actual Damages Recoverable

In an action of slander or libel, if a retraction as provided in Section 6-5-184 shall be published in such medium within 10 days of the date of the publication, then the plaintiff in such case shall recover only actual damages.


Recovery of Punitive Damages

Vindictive or punitive damages shall not be recovered in any action for libel on account of any publication unless (1) it shall be proved that the publication was made by the defendant with knowledge that the matter published was false, or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, and (2) it shall be proved that five days before the commencement of the action the plaintiff shall have made written demand upon the defendant for a public retraction of the charge or matter published; and the defendant shall have failed or refused to publish within five days, in as prominent and public a place or manner as the charge or matter published occupied, a full and fair retraction of such charge or matter.


Public Persons

In civil actions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or persons in public capacity or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence.


Retraction and Tender of Money

If the defendant, after or before an action is commenced, makes the retraction recited in Sections 6-5-184 through 6-5-186 and also tenders to the plaintiff a compensation in money, bringing the same into court, the plaintiff can recover no costs if the jury believes and finds the tender was sufficient.


Receipt of Money before Action Commenced

The receipt of money tendered before an action is commenced is a bar to the action and, if after an action is commenced, such releases the defendant from all damages and costs, except the costs which accrued before the tender and receipt of the money.

Additional Resources

Lewis, Feldman & Lehane, LLC

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