This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol4 Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
A want of an intent to injure is no defence to an action for slander or libel.65 It is not a legal excuse that defamatory matter was published accidentally or inadvertently,66 or that the words were spoken in jest,67 or that the defendant was drunk when he uttered the slander.68
55 Beardsley vs. Tappem, 2 Fed.
Cas., No. 1, 188a. 56 Young vs. Clegg, 93 Ind., 371. 57 McCarbe vs. Atkinson, 77 Miss.,
594. 58 Spence vs. Burt, 18 Lanc. L. Rev.
59 Monson vs. Lathrop, 96 Wis.,
386; 71 N. W., 596. 60 Lyle vs. Clason, 1 Car., 581. 61 Rumney vs. Worthley, 186 Mass.
144. 62 Fry vs. McCord, 95 Tenn., 678. 63 Gambrill vs. Schooley, 93 Md.,
48; 48 AU., 70.
There is a conflict among the decisions as to whether malice is a necessary element in an action for slander or libel. Many cases hold that it is not,69 and other cases, while holding that malice is necessary, qualify this by stating that there are two kinds of malice, malice in law and malice in fact;70 and that the law presumes implied malice from the publication of words actionable per se, whether written or oral, and no actionable malice is essential to recovery.71