Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Ken Is Corrupt, Insane and Running a Ponzi Scheme"--That's Defamation Per Se

It's been a while since we've had a good example of defamation per se, but a South Carolina jury handed down an $850,000 verdict in a case in which a Charleston County planning commission member Robert Miller claimed a Mount Pleasant (greater-Charleston area) town council member, Ken Glasson was "corrupt, insane and running a ponzi scheme" when he isn't and wasn't.  The story is reported at The Post and Courier.

This was a nasty case with all sorts of bribery and other allegations made between Mr. Miller and Mr. Glasson.  It appears that Mr. Miller was a long time power broker and developer in this fantastically beautiful part of the country and chafed at the rise of Mr. Glasson. 

Remember there is a distinction in the law between defamation per se and per quod.  Defamation holds up another to ridicule, scorn or contempt and injures one in their reputation.   Per se means that the wrods themselves need no further explanation to accomplish the defamatory purpose while per quod means that the defamatory words require further explanation.  This story is a perfect illustration of defamatory words, per se, calling someone a criminal who is not a criminal or insane certainly achieves the defamatory bullseye.  If Mr. Miller had falsely claimed Mr. Glasson was practicing law and it turned out Glasson lacked a law license, the explanation that Mr. Glasson lacked a law license would constitute defamtion per quod particulalry if this caused Mr. Glasson to be investigated by the local bar association for practicing law without a license.  In fact, an element of an action for defamation per quod, is proof of actual damages--as when the subject of the defamation incurred attorney fees to defend himself.

Oh, by the way check out the contrary result where a NY doctor and his lawyer were ordered to pay sanctions for bringing frivolous defamation actions against another doctor.


  1. istruggle to really understand the idea that a ponzi structured endeavor is anything less than the way most large investments and benefit programs are structured

    socil security and almost al pension plans especially public plans and nearly every government promise -inducement or what ever the government waves a wand and creates damaging ever expanding credit to hide the true unrealistic scheme they design
    ANY endeavor can easily be calculated for how it is truly structured and therefore through doe-diligence most are easy to be revealing BUT most are not willing to face reality for the prospect of unrealistic dreams

    many greams can come trus BUT there is some degree of effort needed

    the pope

  2. man that was a spelling nichtnare my apolagies

    the pope