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Kroh v. Kroh

North Carolina Court of Appeals
567 S.E.2d 760 (2002)


Facts

Teresa Kroh (defendant) accused her husband, Thomas Kroh (plaintiff), numerous times of infidelity. Teresa placed hidden cameras in their home and claimed to have recorded Thomas having sex with the family dog. In addition to reporting Thomas to the county department of social services (DSS) and the state bureau of investigation, Teresa told Thomas’s sister, his long-time friend, and his coworker that Thomas had had sex with the family dog and that he had molested her two minor sons. Thomas sued Teresa for defamation, and Teresa’s minor sons both testified that Thomas did not molest them. Teresa asserted an affirmative defense that her allegations were true. However, Teresa’s audiotapes contained no evidence to support her allegations. The trial judge excluded Teresa’s veterinary report, which Teresa claimed supported her bestiality allegation, and following a bench trial, found Teresa liable for slander per se. The judge found that Teresa’s statements to the DSS were made with the knowledge that they were false or with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity; that Teresa’s statements were made maliciously and with the intent to injure Thomas; and that Teresa’s conduct was cruel and wicked and she acted with evil intent. Thomas was awarded compensatory and punitive damages. Teresa appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wynn, J.)

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