California Cannabis Claims: Defamation

Last year, we had a mini-series on the blog that covered the five most common causes of action we were seeing in the cannabis industry (links to the series are at the bottom of this post). In follow up, we’ve been getting quite a number of consultation requests or questions from existing clients about another notorious claim that seems to be rampant lately: defamation. This week, we’ll cover the basics on defamation because it’s actually not the easy and straightforward claim you might think it is.

Introduction

At its core, defamation involves a false, unprivileged statement about an individual. Defamation is broken down into two categories – libel and slander:

Civil Code s. 45 defines libel as “a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.” In short, libel is written. Civil Code s. 46 defines slander as “a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means …” Slander is oral.

Libel and

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