Thomas E. Spahn


The law of libel and slander in Virginia is unsettled. Even defining the terms is difficult. While many states classify libel and slander as separate torts, in Virginia defamation encompasses them both. Moreover, there are two separate definitions of "defamation per se" in Virginia. There are also two types of "malice" which are applicable in defamation actions; and to make matters worse, one type of "malice" which actually is not malice at all is called "actual malice."