In a lengthy opinion released today, the Iowa Supreme Court tackled the intricate legal issue of defamation in Iowa. In Gail Bierman and Beth Weier vs. Scott Weier and Author Solutions, Inc., the Court analyzed the history of Iowa and Federal defamation law. Generally, the tort of defamation requires publication (spoken is slander, printed is libel) of a defamatory statement which was false and malicious, made of and concerning the plaintiff, which causes injury. The Weier opinion analyzes the level of proof required in certain scenarios, including who made the statement and the content of the statement. The Court also reiterated that plaintiffs must show more evidence to prove defamation if the actor is determined to be a “media defendant,” rather than a private person, although Justices Hecht and Appel disagreed with this distinction.
So, if you have a free hour and a strong desire to understand Iowa defamation law (particularly libel), click on the link above and enjoy 68 pages of fun.