The publication requirement is simply the communication of defamatory matter to a third person. An exception to the publication requirement exists for slander actions in Missouri where a person who utters defamatory matters intends, or has reason to suppose, that in the ordinary course of events the matter will come to knowledge of some third person. Mauzy v. Mex. Sch. Dist., 878 F. Supp. 153, 157 (E.D. Mo. 1995), citing Neighbors v. Kirksville College, 694 S.W.2d 822, 824 (Mo. Ct. App. 1985). One who republishes defamatory facts is liable for that publication. Mortiz v. Kan. City Star Co., 258 S.W.2d 583 (Mo. 1953). There also is an important provision under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that may protect you if a third party - not you or your employee or someone acting under your direction - posts something on your blog or website that is defamatory. We cover this protection in more detail in the section on Publishing the Statements and Content of Others.
These elements of a defamation claim in Missouri are similar to the elements listed in the general Defamation section, with the following exceptions:
Defamation Per Se/Per Quod
The Missouri Supreme Court case of Nazeri v. Missouri Valley College, 860 S.W.2d 303 (Mo. 1993) (en banc) eliminates the defamation per se/per quod distinction. In that case, the court abandoned the classifications of defamation per se and per quod, holding that "plaintiffs need not concern themselves with whether the defamation was per se or per quod, nor with whether special damages exist, but must prove actual damages in all cases." Id. at 313.
By statute, it is actionable to publish falsely and maliciously, in any manner whatsoever, that any person has been guilty of fornication or adultery. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.110 (2011).