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News Link • World News

Dirty T-Shirt Defamation

• by Gene Howington

Is an opinion defamation? Is it defamation if it is worn on a t-shirt? Is it defamation if you post a picture of yourself wearing said t-shirt on Facebook? Is the manufacturer liable for civil damages a purchaser of their t-shirt incurred since they wrote the content later found defamatory? An unusual case in Spain raises these questions and more.

A woman in Madrid, Spain is certainly perplexed by a court ruling that found her guilty of a “dignitary tort”. She was sentenced and initially ordered to pay 2,000 euros ( ≈ $2640) in damages and a 240 euro-fine ( ≈ $317), but the court later reduced the damages on appeal to 1,000 euros ( ≈ $1320) and eight days of house arrest in lieu of the fine. Adding insult to injury, the claimant – her ex-husband – asked that the damages be paid in installments to supplement his 700 euro per month income ( ≈ $924 per month).

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