Should There Be Evidence That Actual Malice Was Intended In Alleged Defamatory Statements ?
In Evely v. Carlon Co., Div. of Indian Head, Inc. (1983), 4 Ohio St.3d 163, 165, 4 Ohio B. 404, 447 N.E.2d 1290, the appellant conceded in his complaint that the allegedly defamatory statements were made by his employer, through its officers, within the scope of employment.
On these facts, the Supreme Court of Ohio reasoned as follows:
"at the outset, it must be pointed out that all of the statements attributed to the officers of the appellee were made concerning the activities of the appellant arising out of his employment status with the company. None of these statements was directed to the appellant as an individual separate and apart from his employment. As such, the statements would be afforded a qualified privilege concerning matters of common business interest between the parties and, accordingly, there must be a showing that they were made with actual malice in order for the appellant to prevail. In this regard there must be evidence adduced by the appellant beyond the mere allegations contained in the complaint." Id.