Innuendo under Tort Law
By: Anjali Tiwari
Innuendo is a legal term used in the context of tort and personal damage cases. The word comes from the Latin word innuere, which means "to nod forward." In litigation, innuendo is used to describe defamation resulting from libel or slander. It usually demonstrates that the plaintiff was the subject of defamatory remarks directed at him. In most cases, innuendo is only utilized in slanderous actions. An innuendo can only be used to explain something else that has been spoken. It must also serve to relate the given slander to the preceding issue without broadening, extending, or modifying the previous words' meaning. Innuendo is a term used to describe a circumstance in which a person communicates a genuine situation but derives an inaccurate conclusion from it. Furthermore, the subject to which the insinuation alludes must always be visible from the indictment or declaration's preceding conclusion. When the intent of the slander or libel cannot be determined from the slander or libel itself, this is required. The indictment or declaration can be vitiated if the innuendo expands the meaning of the words. However, if the additional information contained in an innuendo is not required to support the action, it might be dismissed as surplusage.
Innuendo can be divided into two categories. The first is insinuation that isn't true. It's a defamatory statement with an implied meaning that can only be appreciated and understood by those who have the necessary context knowledge. This may necessitate some cultural and geographic knowledge.
In addition, there is legal inference. While not defamatory on its own, a legal innuendo statement might be defamatory when paired with extrinsic or external conditions. Because of the context, a comment may be considered defamatory in one jurisdiction but not in another. The strict liability rule is applied to legal innuendo when looking at legal precedent. This is the most common level of responsibility that defines what renders a person legally liable. Strict responsibility entails holding a party liable without determining the cause of the fault, such as tortious intent or negligence. In this case, the defendant must have been shown to be at fault and that the tear in question occurred.
A complainant alleging innuendo must accompany the references to the impugned phrases in the statement of argument with a clear discussion of the extrinsic facts that give the terms their "extended" meaning. On the other hand, such evidence only needs to prove that there exist people who are aware of the extrinsic facts and may have construed the challenged terms in the defamatory context that they receive from those facts.
In this way, ensuring that someone truly understands them is frequently unnecessary. In contrast to the defendant's case being deceptive on the obvious meaning of the word employed, the fact that the accused misinterprets when he obtains the false meaning of external evidence means that he is responsible for the damage's quality and acceptability, not the liability.
That is to say, a claimant who is unaware of the extrinsic evidence that has changed his or her benign words into defamatory statements through innuendo will not be able to use the confusion as a defence to culpability, but rather as a factor limiting the susceptibility to damages.