Meaning of a Communication

In some instances, the context of a statement may determine whether the statement is defamatory. The Restatement provides as follows: “The meaning of a communication is that which the recipient correctly, or mistakenly but reasonably, understands that it was intended to express.” Courts generally will take into account extrinsic facts and circumstances in determining the meaning of the statement. Thus, even where two statements are identical in their words, one may be defamatory while the other is not, depending on the context of the statements.


Inside Meaning of a Communication