Nebraska Revised Statute 25-840
Libel or slander; truth as defense; effect of actual malice.
In the actions mentioned in section 25-839, the defendant may allege the truth of the matter charged as defamatory, prove the same and any mitigating circumstances to reduce the amount of damages, or prove either. The truth in itself and alone shall be a complete defense unless it shall be proved by the plaintiff that the publication was made with actual malice. Actual malice shall not be inferred or presumed from publication.
- R.S.1867, Code § 132, p. 414;
- R.S.1913, § 7700;
- C.S.1922, § 8644;
- C.S.1929, § 20-840;
- R.S.1943, § 25-840;
- Laws 1957, c. 83, § 1, p. 329.
A defendant's allegedly defamatory statement being true is a complete defense to a claim of defamation unless the plaintiff proves the statement was made with actual malice. Choice Homes v. Donner, 311 Neb. 835, 976 N.W.2d 187 (2022).
In an action for libel or slander, a defendant may allege the truth of the matter charged as defamatory. The truth in itself and alone shall be a complete defense unless it shall be proved by the plaintiff that the publication was made with actual malice. Actual malice shall not be inferred or presumed from publication. White v. Ardan, Inc., 230 Neb. 11, 430 N.W.2d 27 (1988).
As a general rule, in a case of alleged libel or slander, truth is a complete defense absent proof of actual malice. Turner v. Welliver, 226 Neb. 275, 411 N.W.2d 298 (1987).
For failure to allege, as ordered by the court, whether or not publication was malicious and whether defendant gave notice and requested correction, the petition was properly dismissed. Vodehnal v. Grand Island Daily Independent, 191 Neb. 836, 218 N.W.2d 220 (1974).
Plaintiff has burden of proving actual malice. Whitcomb v. Nebraska State Education Assn., 184 Neb. 31, 165 N.W.2d 99 (1969).
Defendant cannot prove truth of defamatory charge under general denial. Murten v. Garbe, 93 Neb. 589, 141 N.W. 146 (1913).
In action for libel, truth is not complete defense; good motives, etc., are necessary. Sheibley v. Fales, 81 Neb. 795, 116 N.W. 1035 (1908); Pokrok Zapadu Pub. Co. v. Zizkovsky, 42 Neb. 64, 60 N.W. 358 (1894).
Insofar as slander is concerned, truth is complete defense. Larson v. Cox, 68 Neb. 44, 93 N.W. 1011 (1903).