Defamation, also referred to as slander or vilification is a claim stated or implied that projects a negative image about an individual, business, group, product or the government. Defamation can include both written statements (libel) that smear an image and spoken statements (slander) that disparage an image. Defamation laws are slightly different in each state. For example, Kansas has specific defamation laws that apply within the state.
Kansas is one of only a few states that has criminal defamation laws. These require a higher standard of proof for conviction. The higher threshold of proof is "actual malice" for a party to be convicted of defamation in Kansas. This level of malice requires that the party must actually know that the statements or printed statements are false. One exception to this threshold of "knowing" occurs in instances where the party should have known the statements were false. For example, an individual should know that his neighbor is not actually an alien from another planet.
Defamatory Per Se
Kansas additionally recognizes that certain cases of statements qualify as "defamatory per se." This means that the parties seeking justice do not have to actually prove the statement was "defamatory." This follows the common law tradition that the damages for these "per se" statements are presumed. The following examples usually qualify under this "per se" distinction: allegations or imputations that are injurious to a party in his trade, profession or business, allegations that an individual has a "loathsome" disease (such as a STD), allegations that an individual is lacking in chastity, and allegations of criminal activity or conviction.
Limitations on Defamation Suits
Find out the statue of limitations in your state for seeking damages for defamation. A statute of limitations is a time limit for pursuing damages in response to wrongful action. Once the statue of limitations passes, you can no longer seek damages and file a lawsuit against the other party, except in certain legal exceptions. For libel, slander and overall defamation, the statue of limitations is 1 year in Kansas. Thus, this means you have a short window of time to claim damages from defamation in Kansas.
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