Successful liability defenses have been achieved by focusing on the elements a plaintiff must prove to establish defamation. Foremost, the plaintiff must prove the alleged statement was false. Truth is an absolute defense. Further plaintiff must generally plead and prove the alleged statement with specificity and where and when it was published and to whom. Also, attention must be paid to whether a qualified privilege or even an absolute privilege for making the alleged defamation exists. For example, if the statement was allegedly made by security charged with the duty of protecting plant personnel or property, a qualified privilege may exist. A qualified privilege increases the plaintiff’s burden of proof by requiring proof it was published with knowledge or reckless disregard of its falsity. If the statement was the report of a crime to law enforcement, or the report of the content of public records or proceedings, an absolute privilege probably exists.
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||Awalt v. Allied Security, 2006 WL 181681 (S.D. Ill., 2006)