LAW 512-001 – Torts II
A judge will determine if a statement has a reasonably defamatory meaning. A communication is defamatory if it damages one's reputation—that is, if it diminishes the respect, goodwill or esteem or tends to exhibit unpleasant. If a judge decides that there are two valid interpretations—one defamatory and one not, it is an issue for a jury. The standard for defamation must be read and construed in the sense that a reader would ordinarily construe it.