Elements of Nevada's Theories of Liability

Slander of Title

Slander of Title

Elements

Slander of title requires:
1) false and malicious communications;
2) disparaging to one’s land; and
3) special damaged arising therefrom. Executive Management, Ltd. v. Ticor Title Ins. Co. 962 P.2d 465, 478 (Nev.1998).

Robinson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, Case No. 2:10-CV-321 JCM , 2010 WL 2834895, *2 (D. Nev. 2010).

Alternatively,

1) words spoken about property are false;
2) they are spoken maliciously by defendant; and
3) the plaintiff sustains some special pecuniary damage as the direct and natural result of the words having been spoken.

Potosi Zinc Co. v. Mahoney, 36 Nev. 390, 1082, 135 P. 1078 (1913).

Example Cases

See also Executive Mgmt., Ltd. v. Ticor Title Ins. Co., 114 Nev. 823, 842, 963 P.2d 465, 478 (1998) and DeCarnelle v. Guimont, 101 Nev. 412, 705 P.2d 650 (1985).

Proof

  • How to prove malice

To prove malice, the plaintiff must show that the defendant knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Rowland v. Lepire, 99 Nev. 308, 313, 662 P.2d 1332, 1335 (1983). Conversely, “[w]here a defendant has reasonable grounds for belief in his claim, he has not acted with malice.” Id. “Additionally, evidence of a defendant’s reliance on the advice of counsel tends to negate evidence of malice.” Id.

Damages

“The district court’s award of attorney’s fees as special damages is discretionary, not mandatory.”
Day v. W. Coast Holdings, Inc., 101 Nev. 260, 265, 699 P.2d 1067, 1071 (1985).

There is authority that a complaint for slander of title is subject to dismissal if it fails to allege the loss of a particular pending sale. There is also authority that where plaintiff has alleged and shown that a pending sale was aborted by publication of disparaging matter, special pecuniary damage is established.
Summa Corp. v. Greenspun, 98 Nev. 528, 531, 655 P.2d 513, 515 (1982).

We believe the rationale of Chesebro, Dowse, Paulson and Den-Gar is based on reason and recognizes that but for the wrongful act of slander of plaintiff’s title, the plaintiff would not incur any expenses in removing the cloud from his title. Dowse v. Doris Trust, supra, at 959. Furthermore, the Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 633(1)(b) (1977) is in accord with this view. Therefore, the trial court properly concluded that an award of expenses was an element of special damages and sufficient to establish the tort of slander of title.
Summa Corp. v. Greenspun, 98 Nev. 528, 532, 655 P.2d 513, 515 (1982).

“The clear majority rule is that attorney fees incurred in removing spurious clouds from a title qualify as special damages in an action for slander of title. As stated by the Washington Supreme Court, attorney fees are permissible as special damages in slander of title actions because ‘the defendant … by intentional and calculated action leaves the plaintiff with only one course of action: that is, litigation…. Fairness requires the plaintiff to have some recourse against the intentional malicious acts of the defendant.’ However, no authority appears to support the proposition that attorney fees are available as special damages in a case to remove a cloud upon title when no claim for slander of title has been alleged, and in fact, authority to the contrary exists.” Horgan v. Felton, 123 Nev. 577, 585–86, 170 P.3d 982, 987–88 (2007).

Defenses

“Where a defendant has reasonable grounds for belief in his claim, he has not acted with malice.” Rowland v. Lepire, 99 Nev. 308, 313, 662 P.2d 1332, 1335 (1983). “Additionally, evidence of a defendant’s reliance on the advice of counsel tends to negate evidence of malice.” Id.

Misc