Arizona also distinguishes between statements that constitute slander per se and slander per quod. In Arizona, a statement that does any of the following is slander per se:
Charges a contagious or venereal disease, or that woman is not chaste; or
Tends to injure a person in his profession, trade, or business; or
Imputes the commission of a crime involving moral turpitude.
Modla v. Parker, 495 P.2d 494, 4 n.1 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1972). Slander per quod are “all slanderous utterances which are not slanderous per se.” Boswell v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., 152 Ariz. 1, 6 n.4 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1985) approved as supplemented by Boswell v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., 152 Ariz. 9 (Ariz. 1986).
The distinction between libel per se and per quod and slander per se and per quod matters because it effects the type of damages a plaintiff must allege to prevail. To recover for libel or slander per quod, a plaintiff must allege special damages, i.e., lost profits or other "pecuniary loss." Boswell, 152 Ariz. 1, 6 n.4. In contrast, to recover for libel or slander per se, a plaintiff does not have to allege special damages and may instead allege non-pecuniary damages, such as damage to his reputation. Moreover, in cases of libel or slander per se, damages may be presumed if:
The plaintiff is a private figure and the alleged defamatory statement involves a matter of purely private concern; Dombey v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., 150 Ariz. 476, 481 (Ariz. 1986) or
Actual malice is proven. Id.
Arizona courts have considered whether certain lower-level government employees qualify as public officials. They have held that the following individuals, among others, are public officials:
Teachers, Sewell v. Brookbank, 119 Ariz. 422, 425 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1978);
FAA inspectors, Lewis v. Oliver, 178 Ariz. 330, 337 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1993);