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Corporate Public Figures

Defamation, also known as libel or slander, occurs when false statements are made about a person that damages that person’s reputation. The law of defamation recognizes the right of individuals to protect their reputations from wrongful injury. But what of corporations? Should a corporation be treated as an individual for the purposes of defamation law? A corporation certainly has a reputation and can suffer damage as a result of defamatory statements made about it, but unlike an individual, corporations have no personality and can suffer no emotional harm as a result of being defamed.

Historically, courts in the United States treated corporate and individual plaintiffs the same way. But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Supreme Court created three categories of defamation plaintiffs: (1) ...

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