Deviating from a trend toward requiring proof of actual harm from defamation, a New Jersey state appeals court ruled Monday that mandating such damages in a suit over online accusations of child sexual abuse would create a “license to defame.”

The decision, in W.J.A. v. D.A., A-0762-09, is the second published state appellate division opinion this year to address the issue of presumed damages over online smears.

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