Public Figure

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Public Figure

A description applied in Libel and Slander actions, as well as in those alleging invasion of privacy, to anyone who has gained prominence in the community as a result of his or her name or exploits, whether willingly or unwillingly.

If a plaintiff in a libel or slander action qualifies as a public figure, he or she must show that the libelous or slanderous conduct of the defendant was motivated out of actual malice as required in the case of new york times co. v. sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S.Ct. 710, 11 L.Ed.2d 686 (1964).

public figure

n. in the law of defamation (libel and slander), a personage of great public interest or familiarity like a government official, politician, celebrity, business leader, movie star, or sports hero. Incorrect harmful statements published about a public figure cannot be the basis of a lawsuit for defamation unless there is proof that the writer or publisher intentionally defamed the person with malice (hate). (See: defamation, libel, slander)

References in periodicals archive ?
2002) (holding that a frequent poster on a Yahoo message board was classified as a limited public figure because he injected himself into a public debate over the unprofitable operation of a local solid waste recovery facility).
The court finds that 14 of the 17 plaintiffs were limited public figures allowing the Jewish civil rights organization to claim the privilege in seeking information about them.

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