In order to be actionable, the statement will have to falsely accuse you of a fact. For example, accusing you falsely of rape, or theft, or of a specific instance of dishonesty in business will almost certainly be deemed actionable. One of the tests to look at is whether or not the statement can be proven true or false. It is impossible to prove whether or not you are a “jerk,” but establishing whether or not you defrauded a business partner will be subject to proof.
Of course, proving your innocence regarding the statement is not always straightforward, but if the complained-of statement falls within these parameters, the judge will allow the claim to proceed towards trial.
Michael L. Kitchen
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Legal advice is provided only through a formal, written attorney/client agreement.