What is the difference between a public and a private figure?
Plaintiffs, or victims, are not all the same in the eyes of the First Amendment and those who have a more public persona have a higher burden to prevail on a claim that some sort of defamation damages their reputation. The law recognizes four classes of plaintiffs – public officials, public figures, limited-purpose public figures and private individuals. The first three people in this list have to prove that the defendant acted with greater intent, usually with actual malice; which means that private individuals have less effective opportunities than the public individuals to correct the record. Therefore, private individual are more vulnerable to injury from the defamation. This video reviews these four classes of plaintiffs and how the compensation to a public or private figure differs.
Amanda Kane Rapp
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
- Counsel in the Washington D.C. office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
- Former associate counsel at the White House
- Represents corporations, institutions and individuals in matters of reputational recovery, crisis management and government response, and defense from false attacks
- Counsels clients on navigating the intersection between political activity and the law, including navigating the political appointment and vetting process and ethics requirements
- J.D. degree, Georgetown University Law Center; B.A. degree, University of Florida
- Can be contacted at [email protected] or 202-887-4509
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