Last week, deposed “shock jock” Don Imus was awarded a multimillion dollar settlement from CBS, his former employer. The “I-Man” is now on the other end of the stick, as one of the Rutgers women’s basketball players, Kia Vaughn, filed a libel, slander, and defamation lawsuit against him.
I’m not an attorney, and I don’t condone what he said, but this might be tough for Vaughn to win. All definitions of libel, slander, and defamation specify that an individual. A lawyer friend of mine told me that you cannot slander a group. Imus did not name any of the players. I doubt that he even knew any of their names.
The key element of malice must also be proven. His comment was made in the context of a joke, albeit a tasteless, offensive one. That part could be a gray area, but unless I’m not reading the definitions correctly, the fact that Vaughn was not named by Imus should be enough to toss this out of court.
Tuesday, August 21: Maddening Ranking