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per se." (i. e. there may be a recovery therefor without proof of special damage), but slander is not actionable per se, except in a few special classes of charges." Slander from its nature can never be a joint tort, while libel very often is.


Slander is actionable per se in the following classes of cases:

(1) Where the charge, which is the basis of the action, imputes to the plaintiff the commission of an indictable offense involving moral turpitude;

(2) Where it imputes that the plaintiff has a contagious or infectious disease of a disgraceful kind;

(3) Where the charge is one tending to injure the plaintiff in his office, business or occupation; and,

(4) Where the charge is one tending to disinherit the plaintiff.

In all other cases of slander special damage to the plaintiff must be proved before there can be a recovery.



The following are among the most important forms in which defamatory words are to be found: Imputations of falsehood, but the charge must be of intentional falsehood and not of a mistake of judgment;13

Imputations of dishonesty or fraud.14 The con10 Lindlet vs. Horton, 27 Conn.,58; 14 Jones vs. Greeley, 25 Fla., 629; Over vs. Schfiling, 102 Ind.,

6 So. Rep., 448; holding that 191; 26 N. E., 91; Prewitt vs.

to call one "a dishonest man, Wilson, 128 Iowa, 198; 103

is libelous per se; Huse vs. 365.

Inter-Ocean Pub. Co., 12 III. 11 See 25 Cyc. p. 255.

App., 627; Hart vs. Reed, 1 is Lindley vs. Horton, 27 Conn., 58.

B. Mon., 166; 35 Am. Dec., Walker vs. Hawley, 56 Conn.,

179. 559; 16 Atl., 674.

N. W.,

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duct charged must be of such a nature as to reflect upon the character and integrity of the plaintiff;45

Imputations of indebtedness or delinquency in paying debts,18 at least if the charges are of such a character as will tend to affect a person in his business by injuring his credit;17

Imputations of cruelty;18

Imputations of rascality and general depravity, "written or printed publication imputing roguery, rascality or general depravity which carries with it a charge of moral turpitude and degradation of character, the natural tendency of which is to hold the party up to contempt, and expose him to the reprobation of the virtuous and honorable is libelous per se.

Certain single words may be libelous, when published of a person, as villain,ạo swindler, 21 hypocrite, 42 or blackguard

Charges of political corruption;24

Imputations upon men as to their relations with women. Even imputations which do not charge a man with immorality but which will tend to disgrace the man, or to render him ridiculous, are libelous.28 1s Bush vs. Main, 12 Colo., App.

52; Stewart vs. Swift Specific 504; 55 Pac., 956; P. O'Con

Co., 76 Ga., 280; 2 Am. St. nell vs. Scontz, 126 Iowa, 709;

Rep., 40. 102 N. W., 807, holding that 20 Hillhouse vs. Dunning, 6 Conn., a notice from a county officer to a taxpayer that the office

a1 Kluck vs. Kolby, 46 N. Y., 427; had been apprised that the

7 Am. Rep., 360. taxpayer had moneys not listed

Knox vs. Meehan, 64 Minn., 280; for taxation is not libelous as

61 N. W., 1149. containing a charge of defraud- 23 Davis vs. Griffith, 4 Gill & J. ing the state.

(Md.), 342. 16 Sanders vs. Hall, 22 Tex., Civ. Tillson vs. Raffino. 68 Me., 295; App. 282; 55 S. W., 594;

28 Am. Rep., 50. Muetz vs. Teten, 77 Wis., 236; 35 Strader vs. Snyder, 67 Ill., 404; 46 N. W., 123; 20 Am. St. Rep.,

Funk vs. Beverly, 112' Ind. 115; L. R. A., 86.

190; 13 N. E., 573; Goodrich 17 White vs. Parks, 93 Ga., 633;

vs. Davis, 11 Metc., 473. 20 S. E., 78; Masters vs. Lee, 20 Morey vs. Morning, Journal Asso., 39 Neb., 574; 58 N. W., 227.

123 N. Y., 207; 25 N. E., 161; 18 Republican Pub. Co. vs. Mosman, 20 Am. S. Rep., 730; 9 L R. 15 Colo., 399; 24 Pac., 1051.

A., 621, where the charge was 2o Crossdale vs. Bright, 6 Houst.,

made that a breach of promise



Many imputations against women,

not amounting to charges of unchastity;27

Certain imputations as to church standing or religious beliefs have held libelous ,28

Imputations charging infringement of patent rights are libelous as tending to injure a person in his business;20

Imputations of illegitamacy, as tending to disinherit a person;

Imputations of cowardice,91 profanity, 42 or want of sexual powers.



SECTION 74. IMPUTATIONS OF CRIME. Imputations of crime are of such importance in this connection as to require special discussion.

Any charge which falsely and maliciously accuses a person of the commission of a crime involving moral turpitude, is actionable per se whether the charge takes the form of slander or libel.

The crime charged may be either a crime at common law or one created by statute. It may be either a felony, 86 or one of certain misdemeanors.36 A misdemeanor is ordinarily not punishable by an infamous punishment, and therefore, in order that a

suit had been brought against
a married man. D'Andred vs.
New York Press Co., 61 N. Y.

App. Div., 605.
» Hawkins vs Globe Printing Co.,

10 Mo. App., 174; Smith vs. Smith, 73 Mich., 445; 41 N. W., 499; Gates vs. New York Recorder Co., 155 N. Y., 228; 49 N. E., 769 491; Stowers vs. Converse,

81 Price vs. Whitley, 50 Mo., 439. 82 Commonwealth VB. Batchelder,

Thack Cv. Cas. (Mass. 191). 33 Eckart vs. Van Pelt, 69 Kan.,

357; 76 Pac., 909.
so Burton vs. Burton, 3 Greene, 316;

Shepherd vs. Piper, 98 Me., 316
Atl. 84; Herzog vs. Campbell,

47 Nebt., 370; 61 N. W., 424. 35 Childers vs. San Jose Mercury

Conn., 325.. 20 Cousins vs. Merrill, 16 W.C.C.P.,

114. 30 Mix vs. North America Co., 12

Pa, Dist., 446.

Printing, etc., Co., 105 Cal.,

284; 38 Pac., 903. 36 Lenious vs. Wells, 78 Ky., 117;

Earle vs. Johnson, 81 Minn, 472; 84 N. W., 332; Smith vs. Smith, 2 Sneed, 473.



> 39

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charge of such offense may be actionable per se it is necessary that it be indictable and involve moral turpitude. 97 Moral turpitude generally is said to imply "inherate baseness or vileness of principles in the human heart; extreme depravity.'

Moral turpitude as the term is used in the present connection has been defined to be an act of baseness, vileness or depravity, in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow-man or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.

An infamous punishment is generally one corporal in its character. This would include death, mutilation, whipping, the pillory and imprisonment. It is sometimes held that imprisonment to come under this heading must be in the penitentiary, and that imprisonment in a common jail is not an infamous punishment.“ Punishment by fine is generally not considered an infamous punishment, but there is some authority to the contrary.48

It may be actionable to charge a person with the commission of a crime, the corpus of which never existed;44 or to charge the commission of a crime incapable of commission by the party deformed, unless such impossibility was known to the hearers.'' 87 Crawford vs. Wilson, 4 Barb. • Buck vs. Hersey, 31 Me., 558; (N. Y.), 504; Stitzell vs. Rey

Rammel vs. Otis, 60 Mo., 365;

Damerest vs. Haring, 6 Cow. Rep. 207 Pa. St., 54; Am.

(N. Y.), 76. 88 Webster's Dictionary.

43 Brown vs Nickerson, 5 Gray 89 Newell on Defamation (2 ed.),

(Mass.), 1; Perdue vs. Bura Sec. 12, quoted in Baxter vs.

nett, Mina (Ala.), 138. Mohi, 37 Misc. (N. Y.), 833; * Durrah vs. Still well, 59 Ind., 139; 76 N. Y. Suppl., 982.

Vs. Clark, 21 Picks 40 Ludlum vs. McCuen, 17 N. J. L.,

(Mass.), 51. 12; Gudgen vs. Oenland, 108 · Chambers vs. White, 47 N. C., N. C., 593; 13 S. E., 168.

383; Stewart vs. Howe, 17 Ill., W Brooker vs. Coffin, 5 Johns., 188;

4 Am. Dec., 337; McKee vs. 46 Beckett vs. Sterrett, 4 Blackt Wilson, 87 N. C., 300.

(Ind.), 499.




Since the basis of an action for defaination is damages for the injury to character in the opinion of other men, proof of the publication of the defamatory words is essential to the maintenance of an action for libel or slander.47 There must be a communication to some person other than plaintiff, and defendant;" charges made to the plaintiff alone, and not heard by any other party, will never furnish a basis for an action of slander, even although they may occasion much suffering to the plaintiff. It is sufficient, however, if the defamatory words come to the knowledge of a third person, without being especially addressed to him. The question of publication is thus discussed by the Court of Appeals of New York in the Case of Youmans vs. Smith.50

An action to recover damages for libel cannot be maintained upon proof simply that the libelous words were composed, and were in existence as written or printed matter, without being known to any one except the author and the victim. Unless communicated to some third person, no damages, either actual or presumptive, can result. As said by a learned author: 'Until the publication, the act is not complete in its mischief. Before it is dispersed abroad, it can produce no present or actual injury, and until then there is a locus penitentiae on the part of those concerned in the composing and writing.' Holt, Libel, 281.

25 Cyc., 365; Weir vs. Hoss, 6

Ala., 881; Youmans vs. Smith, 153 N. Y., 214; 47 N. E., 265; Sun Life Assn. Co. vs. Barley, 101 Va., 443; 44 8. E., 692. Williard vs. Mellor, 19 Colo., 539;

36 Pac., 148; Frank vs. kam. ichky, 109 il., 26; Yousking

vs. Dare, 122 Iowa, 539; 98 N. W., 371; Dare, 122 Iowa,

539; 98 N. W., 371. Terwilliger vs. Wands, 17 N. Y.,

64, 63; and Wilson vs. Gait,

17' N. Y., 442. 60 153 N. Y., 214; 47 N. E., 206.

Vol. IV.-11.

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