How do you prove defamation?

Minneapolis litigator David Olsen of Henson & Efron explains how to prove defamation.

Contact David Olsen

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 339-2500


Well, to prove defamation, there’s a number of elements, as they’re called in the law. The first is publication, which just means that it has to be either written or said and somebody else hears it. That’s called a publication. Next you have to prove that the statement is actually false. Some people refer to truth being a defense, but the plaintiff actually has the burden to prove that the statement is false. If you prove that the statement was published and it’s false, then you have to prove next that it tends to harm somebody’s reputation. And to do that, it would have to lower their esteem in the community or tend to make people look down upon them or to not associate with them. And usually that’s by evidence of reputation in the community, what it was before the statement and what it was after the statement.