Smith v. Durden
New Mexico Supreme Court
276 P.3d 943 (2012)
Former priest Walter Smith, III, (plaintiff) brought a defamation action against Will Durden (defendant) based on the publication of a document packet alluding to Smith’s alleged sexual misconduct with minor parishioners. Durden originally prepared the packet for a presentation before the local diocese by parish leaders seeking Smith’s removal. Durden obtained summary judgment on the ground that Smith failed to show any actual injury to reputation as required by New Mexico law. Smith appealed, arguing that falsely accusing a priest of pedophilia is always defamatory and that personal humiliation and anguish qualify as actual injuries.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Serna, J.)
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