636 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [45:635
II. THE TREATMENT OF THE ABSO LUTE PRIVILEGE TO DEFAMATION
IN OHIO AND ITS APPLICATION TO ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS IN
CALIFORNIA, MARYLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND THE DISTRICT O F
The cases explored throughout this Article demonstrate how several
states have extended the absolute privilege to defamation in arbitration
proceedings. While these cases do not create an absolute privilege, they
establish the framework and policy that Ohio should adopt when
expanding its own arbitration privilege.
A. Treatment of the Absolute Privilege to Defamation Under Ohio Law
As recognized by Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals, “the
basic definition of defamation consists of a ‘false publication, made with
some degree of fault, reflecting injuriously on a person’s reputation or
exposing a person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, shame, or disgrace,
or affecting a person adversely in his or her trade, business or
profession.’”5 Ohio law recognizes both absolute and qualified privileges
for certain statements, and these privileges constitute a defense to a
defamation claim when the statements are made in connection with a
judicial proceeding.6 The rule regarding absolute privilege in judicial
proceedings can be stated that “a statement made in a judicial proceeding
enjoys an absolute privilege against a defamation action as long as the
allegedly defamatory statement is reasonably related to the proceeding in
which it appears.”7 Notably, the privilege applies even if the speech is
false or malicious.8
According to Hoisington v. Jones, a Tenth District Court of Appeals
case, the absolute privilege afforded in judicial proceedings not only
applies to defamation, but also extends to other intentional torts associated
with the judicial proceedings.9 Further, the court recognized that the
Supreme Court of Ohio has been steadfast in its favoring of access to the
courts over the ability to seek redress for defamatory statements or other
5 Price v. Austintown Local Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 897 N.E.2d 700, 705 (Ohio Ct.
App. 2008) (citing A & B-Abell Elevator Co. v. Columbus/Cent. Ohio Bldg. & Constr.
Trades Council, 73 Ohio St. 3d 1, 651 N.E.2d 1283 (1995)).
6 Costanzo v. Gaul, 62 Ohio St. 2d 106, 403 N.E.2d 979 (1980).
7 Hecht v. Levin, 66 Ohio St. 3d 458, 460, 613 N.E.2d 585 (1993) (citing Surace v.
Wuliger, 25 Ohio St. 3d 229, 495 N.E.2d 939 (1986)).
8 Surace, 25 Ohio St. 3d at 232; Erie Cty. Farmers’ Ins. Co. v. Crecelius, 122 Ohio St.
210, 171 N.E. 97 (1930).
9 Hoisington v. Jones, 10th Dist. Franklin Nos. 89AP-720, 89AP-743, 1990 WL 9270,
*3 (Feb. 6, 1990) (citing Surace, 25 Ohio St. 3d 229, 495 N.E.2d 939 (1986)).