A Defamation Puerto Rico law claim provides compensation for the damage inflicted on the reputation and good name of the injured party. Sociedad de Gananciales v. El Vocero de P.R., 135 DPR 122, 127, 1994 WL 909249 (1994).
Defamation Puerto Rico law claims can come in the form of slander or libel. The former takes place when the defamation is oral; the latter (libel) is in the written form. See, Art. II, sec. 8 of the Puerto Rico Constitution (the underlying basis for defamation claims) “Slander is a false and unprivileged publication other than libel, which imputes to any person the commission of a crime, or tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, or which by natural consequences causes actual damages.” 32 L.P.R.A. § 3143. Although there is a special libel & slander law in Puerto Rico since 1902, 32 L.P.R.A. § 3242, et. seq., Defamation claims are generally litigated pursuant to Article 1802 of the Puerto Rico Civil Code, 33 P.R. Laws Ann. § 5141.
To prevail on a defamation Puerto Rico law claim, a plaintiff must prove: (1) that the statement was false; (2) in the case of a private figure, that the publication was negligently made; (3) in the case of a public figure, that defendant acted with actual malice; and (4) that he or she suffered real damages. The publication must be injurious in that it tends to subject the person to “public hatred or contempt, or to deprive him of the benefits of public confidence and social intercourse, or to injure him in his business, or in any other way to throw discredit, contempt of dishonor upon him. ” The element of publication is met when the false and defamatory information has been communicated to a third party, (someone other than the speaker and the defamed).