24 S. Tex. L.J. 171 (1983)
Slander of Title: Onward through the Fog

handle is hein.journals/stexlr24 and id is 193 raw text is: COMMENTS

Slander of Title: Onward Through the Fog
By
KAREN MCCONNELL*
I. INTRODUCTION
There is a tort action involving real property that has many names: it
is sometimes called disparagement; sometimes interference with prospec-
tive advantage; and, sometimes slander of title. However named, the the-
ory of this tort is to give redress for interference with title to real estate
by falsehoods which, although not personally defamatory, cause the plain-
tiff pecuniary loss through interference with his dominion over his prop-
erty. Although technically a tort action, in practice it is a part of real
property law and thus of more concern to attorneys practicing in the area
of real property law than to those practicing in the area of tort law. Slan-
der of title, this tort's ancient name, dates back to the English courts of
the 1600's' and has been closely linked with the tort of defamation. Slan-
der of title was so named through an analogy to personal slander whereby
the title to the property was personified and made subject to the rules
governing an action for personal slander.' Professor Prosser said,
[b]ecause of the unfortunate association with 'slander,' a supposed anal-
ogy to defamation has hung over the tort like a fog, concealing its real
character, and has had great influence upon its development.3
Recognition by the courts that there are relations which should be
protected from unreasonable interference is a comparatively recent devel-
opment. Economic conditions have changed tremendously since early
slander of title cases first established the special damage requirement of
showing specific and actual pecuniary loss and the requirement that a
lost sale potential purchaser be identified. However, modern trends and
changed economic conditions have had little impact on this particular
tort in Texas.
* Associate, Andrews & Kurth, Houston, Texas; South Texas College of Law, J.D.
(1982).
1. W. PROSSER, LAw OF TORTS 915 (4th ed. 1971)[hereinafter cited as W. PROSSER].
2. Hibschman, Defamation or Disparagement?, 24 MINN. L. REv. 625, 627 (1940)(citing
Kendall v. Stone, 5 N.Y. 14 (1851)).
3. W. PROSSER, supra note 1, at 916.

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