To be defamatory under Utah law, a communication must impeach an individual's honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation or publish his or her natural defects or expose him or her to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule. Utah Code Ann. § 45–2–2(1) (1981).
- the reputational interests of private individuals could receive greater constitutional protection than the protection accorded public officials and public figures;
- the libel laws of the states had to require some degree of fault on the part of a defendant for a private plaintiff to recover for defamation, and the states could choose the degree of fault that had to be proved, as long as some level of fault was required; and
- presumed and punitive damages could be awarded only if the plaintiff proved actual malice.