(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this workplace discrimination/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Defamation can consist of either a written publication (libel) or an oral publication (slander). (Civ. Code §§ 44, 45, 46.) In the absence of a privilege, anyone who actively participates in the publication of a false and libelous statement is liable for special, general, and even punitive damages. Moreover, it is also the general rule that every repetition of the defamation is a separate publication and hence a new and separate cause of action though the repeater states the source (Prosser, Torts (2d ed.) p.787.) And, ordinarily the originator of the defamatory matter is also liable for each such repetition if he could reasonably have foreseen the repetition. (DiGiorgio Corp. v. Valley Labor Citizen (1968) 260 Cal.App.268, 273.)
The evidence presented at trial overwhelmingly demonstrated that defendants defamed Plaintiff. Plaintiff was a very credible witness, able to remember events and to provide specifics and context with respect to those events.
Defendants’ witnesses, on the other hand, were, at best, not very credible. Besides examining the four defendants, over the course of April 7 and April 8, 2007, defendants called 12 witnesses. Of all those witnesses, only one was credible: Danny Greene. Every defense witness was able to tell the story that they had prepared with defense counsel, but once Plaintiff’s counsel began to cross-examine them, they could not remember anything specific about any events that occurred. One witness, William Smith, answering every question on cross-examination with I don’t remember, testified that he could not remember almost before counsel could ask a question.
Another witness, John Black, testified that he could remember specific comments at trial that he had not reported in statements he made in October and December 2004 because the defense attorney had supplied him with the specific comments. Another witness, Mary Jones, whom defendant Byrd had originally reported received a dildo vibrator key chain from Plaintiff, appeared shocked and offended when Plaintiff’s counsel asked her if she had ever received such a thing. (See Part 8 of 12.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.