S.H. Kress & Co. v. Self

In S.H. Kress & Co. v. Self, 22 Ariz. App. 230, 232, 526 P.2d 754, 756 (1974), the plaintiff had prevailed on a defamation action against an off-duty police officer working as a security guard, who had reported to law enforcement that the plaintiff had stolen items from a department store. On appeal, the defendant security guard argued his report was absolutely privileged as statements made by a public officer in the discharge of official duties. Division One of this court held that the guard's report of a crime to law enforcement "was protected by a conditional privilege" because the guard had not been acting in his official capacity as a public officer when he made the complaint. Kress, 22 Ariz. App. at 232, 526 P.2d at 756. The court reversed the defamation judgment because the plaintiff had failed to plead and prove the guard had made "the statements during the investigation and in the police reports out of malice or in the absence of good faith." Id. at 233, 526 P.2d at 757.