Neurologist David McKee filed a defamation lawsuit against Dennis Laurion claiming that Laurion defamed him on a “doctor rating” website by referring to him as a “real tool.”  According to ABA Journal, Laurion wrote the following statement on the website:  "When I mentioned Dr. McKee's name to a friend who is a nurse, she said, 'Dr. McKee is a real tool!'”

Minnesota Supreme Court Throws Out McKee’s Lawsuit:

According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, "referring to someone as 'a real tool' falls into the category of pure opinion because the term 'real tool' cannot be reasonably interpreted as stating a fact and it cannot be proven true or false."  Therefore, they concluded that the statement was an expression of opinion that was not defamatory.

What is Defamation?

There are two main types of defamation: libel and slander. Libel is written defamation whereas slander is spoken defamation.  In order to prove that a person was defamed, they must prove a number of elements: (1) the statement must be defamatory, meaning it adversely affects their reputation, (2) the statement must be concerning plaintiff, meaning people who hear it must know it is about plaintiff, (3) the defamatory statement must be made to a third person, and (4) it must cause damages.  Moreover, slander requires that proof of special damages (economic damages), whereas libel does not.

Have you ever been defamed?  To learn more about defamation click here.