Herrera v. C & M Victor Company

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 10-01-2014
  • Case #: A15682
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hadlock, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To prove a defamation per se claim, the plaintiff only needs to show that the statement was published and was per se harmful. This is distinguished from an ordinary defamation claim that requires proof of “special harm,” defined as “the loss of something having economic or pecuniary value.”

Herrera appeals the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of C & M Victor Company. A Little Caesar’s employee refused to honor Herrera’s $25 gift card because there was allegedly no balance on the card. Several days later, the Little Caesars regional manager agreed to refund the $25. During this conversation Herrera, he was dressed in his city utilities department uniform and driving a city van. After the refund had been issued, the regional manager called the city utilities department and left a message, asserting that Herrera had been causing problems at his business over the issue of a gift card. The regional manager stated that Herrera told customers not to purchase anything from the business and threatened an employee by asking where they lived and saying that their utilities may be cut-off. Shortly thereafter, Herrera was fired from his position. After being fired, Herrera brought suit against C & M Victor Co., claiming defamation, defamation per se, and tortious interference with an employment relationship. The trial court dismissed these claims. Herrera appealed and the Court reversed and remanded as to the dismissal of the defamation per se claim and affirmed as to the dismissal of the other claims. Reversed in part, and affirmed in part.

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