Slander Without Proving Special Harm In Mississippi

Five categories of slander identified in Mississippi for which no special harm need be shown: (1) Words imputing the guilt or commission of some criminal offense involving moral turpitude and infamous punishment. (2) Words imputing the existence of some contagious disease. (3) Words imputing unfitness in an officer who holds an office of profit or emolument, either in respect of morals or inability to discharge the duties thereof. (4) Words imputing a want of integrity or capacity, whether mental or pecuniary, in the conduct of a profession, trade or business;" and in this and some other jurisdictions. (5) words imputing to a female a want of chastity. W. T. Farley, Inc. v. Bufkin, 159 Miss. 350, 132 So. 86, 87 (1931). Only the third somewhat problematic category of Farley does not appear in a similar listing in the Restatement. RESTATEMENT OF TORTS (SECOND) 570. The chastity category was adopted by the supreme court only two years prior to Farley, after the court admitted that falsely claiming that a woman was unchaste was not actionable at common law without proof of special damages. Interstate Co. v. Garnett, 154 Miss. 325, 342-47, 122 So. 373, 376-78 (1929). The addition was made because these rules must be "adapted to our institutions and circumstances. . .." Id. at 347, 122 So. at 378.