Massachusetts law about defamation

Laws, cases, and web sources on libel and slander law.

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Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 218, § 21 Small claims court does not have jurisdiction over cases of slander and libel

MGL c. 231, §§ 91-94 Evidence in libel and slander

MGL c. 258, § 10(c) Exempts defamations claims from Massachusetts Tort Claims Act

3 years  Statute of limitations


MGL c. 260, § 4  Statute of limitations. Actions for slander or libel "shall be commenced only within three years next after the cause of action accrues."

Selected cases

Web sources

Defamation: common defenses (MA), Westlaw Practical Law. Available upon request.
Addresses common defenses and arguments that defendants may raise when seeking to dismiss or oppose defamation claims (including libel and slander) under Massachusetts law. 

Defamation law made simple,
Learn the basics of slander and libel. 

Defamation, libel and slander,
Good general introduction to the topic. Includes additional articles about the history behind defamation, the different elements of libel and slander, types of defenses, and more.

Libel and slander,
Description of history, privileges, defenses, and statutes of limitations. Has a FAQ link.

Print sources

Business torts in Massachusetts, 2nd ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 9.

Chapter 93A rights and remedies, 5th ed., MCLE, 2022, Chapter 8, Sections 8.2.1(p); 8.3.7(c).

Massachusetts Practice: 

Massachusetts Superior Court civil practice jury instructions, 3rd ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 6. 

Massachusetts tort law manual, 3rd ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 7.

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Last updated: April 2, 2024

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