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Choice of Law for Multistate Defamation – The State of Affairs as Internet Defamation Beckons

62 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2011  

James R. Pielemeier

Hamline University School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2003

Abstract

Defamation claims frequently raise potential choice of law issues. This is particularly true when the defamatory statements have been disseminated in several different states. Today the Internet enables anyone with basic computer equipment to become a publisher whose statements can be seen around the world. This phenomenon will undoubtedly add to the number of cases requiring a conflict of laws analysis. This article is primarily a critical survey of the commentary and case law in the United States on choice of law for multistate defamation. Part I focuses on commentary pre-dating the Internet, reflecting numerous suggestions on this issue. It also includes discussion of provisions of the first and second Restatement of Conflict of Laws. Part II surveys and critiques recent cases resolving choice of laws issues under the various approaches now taken by American courts. Part III makes some broader observations on the state of current case law. Finally, Part IV discusses whether choice of law analyses will need to be modified in the context of defamation on the Internet.

Keywords: Choice of Law for Defamation, Multistate Defamation, Restatement of Conflict of Laws

Suggested Citation

Pielemeier, James R., Choice of Law for Multistate Defamation – The State of Affairs as Internet Defamation Beckons (January 1, 2003). Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 35, p. 55, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929818

James R. Pielemeier (Contact Author)

Hamline University School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States

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