Can an Apartment Manager be Sued for Bad-Mouthing a Tenant?

Full Question:

Hi, I am an apartment manager. I had a perspective resident referred by a very undesirable resident. This prospect kept talking very badly about the undesired resident. He also lied about many other things. I took his deposit and when his credentials came back. He is not only a felon several times, but has outstanding warrants. I have reason to believe that he may have recorded the conversation we had, which I mentioned that yes, I knew his referral and may have mentioned one or two things about she just needed help. Can I get sued for this?
03/12/2011   |   Category: Civil Actions ยป Defamation   |   State: Georgia   |   #24386

Answer:

Even if a defamation lawsuit was brought, a conversation recorded without your consent would likely not be admissible in court. Defamation is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Such defamation is couched in 'defamatory language'. Libel and slander are subcategories of defamation. In order to prove defamation, the plaintiff must prove:

1.; that a statement was made about the plaintiffs reputation, honesty or integrity that is not true;
2.; publication to a third party (i.e., another person hears or reads the statement); and
3.; the plaintiff suffers damages as a result of the statement.

Slander is a form of defamation that consists of making false oral statements about a person which would damage that person's reputation. Typically, damages, such as loss of earnings, demotion, firing, denial of benefits, etc. would need to proven to show harm in the workplace.

Libel is a form of defamation that consists of making false written statements about a person which would damage that person's reputation. Some statements while libelous or slanderous, are absolutely privileged in the sense that the statements can be made without fear of a lawsuit for slander. The best example is statements made in a court of law.; An untrue statement made about a person in court which damages that person's reputation will generally not cause liability to the speaker as far as slander is concerned. Case law from various jurisdictions supports the principle that, generally, information released by the police, including reports and records, is considered to be a report of an official action subject to a privilege against a charge of defamation. To prove defamation it must be shown that the person did not have a belief in the statement made, or failed to make a reasonable investigation into its truth.