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[Latin, Whereby.] With respect to a complaint in a civil action, a phrase that prefaces the recital of the consequences of certain acts as a ground of special harm to the plaintiff.
At Common Law, this term acquired two meanings in the law of Defamation: with respect to slander, it signified that proof of special damages was required; in regard to libel, it meant that proof of extrinsic circumstances was required.
Words that are actionable per quod do not furnish a basis for a lawsuit upon their face but are only litigable because of extrinsic facts showing the circumstances under which they were uttered or the damages ensuing to the defamed party therefrom.
PER QUOD, pleading. By which; whereby.
2. When the plaintiff sues for an injury to his relative rights, as for beating his wife, his child,, or his servant, it is usual to lay the injury with a per quod. In such case, after complaining of the injury, say to the wife, the declaration proceeds, "insomuch that the said E F, (the wife,) by means of the premises, then and there became and was sick, sore, lame, and disordered, and so remained and continued for a long space of time, to wit, hitherto, whereby he, the said A B, (the plaintiff,) lost", &c. 2 Chit. Pl. 422; 3 Bl. Com. 140. It seems that the per quod is not traversable. 1 Saund. 298; 1 Ld. Raym. 410; 2 Keb. 607; 1 Saund. 23, note 5.