Rhode Island v. Innis (1980) – 446 U.S. 291

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Case Name: Rhode Island v. Innis
Date: 1980
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: Once a Defendant is in custody and invokes his right to counsel, the Police must “scrupulously honor” that invocation and cease all interrogation until a lawyer is present.

For Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect

Brief Analysis: (1) The Miranda safeguards come into play whenever a person in custody is subjected either to express questioning or to its functional equivalent; (2) for Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect; and (3) defendant was not interrogated in violation of his right to remain silent until he had consulted with a lawyer where there was no express questioning of defendant and where defendant was not subjected to the functional equivalent of questioning since it could not be said that the officers should have known that their brief conversation in his presence was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response and there was nothing in the record to suggest that the officers knew that defendant would be susceptible to an appeal to his conscience concerning the safety of children and would respond by offering to show the officers where a shotgun was buried
Topic Area: 5th Amendment

 

Facts: Shortly after a taxicab driver, who had been robbed by a man wielding a sawed-off shotgun, identified a picture of respondent as that of his assailant, a Providence, R.I., patrolman spotted respondent, who was unarmed, on the street, arrested him, and advised him of his rights. When other police officers arrived at the arrest scene, respondent was twice again advised of his Miranda rights, and he stated that he understood his rights and wanted to speak with a lawyer. Respondent was then placed in a police car to be driven to the central station in the company of three officers, who were instructed not to question respondent or intimidate him in any way. While en route to the station, two of the officers engaged in a conversation between themselves concerning the missing shotgun. One of the officers stated that there were “a lot of handicapped children running around in this area” because a school for such children was located nearby, and “God forbid one of them might find a weapon with shells and they might hurt themselves.” Respondent interrupted the conversation, stating that the officers should turn the car around so he could show them where the gun was located. Upon returning to the scene of the arrest where a search for the shotgun was in progress, respondent was again advised of his Miranda rights, replied that he understood those rights but that he “wanted to get the gun out of the way because of the kids in the area in the school,” and then led the police to the shotgun.
Court(s) Below: Defendant’s offer to show police officers was introduced to convict him of Murder, kidnapping, and burglary in Rhode Island state court. The Rhode Island Supreme Court set aside Defendant’s conviction because he was interrogated after he had invoked his right to counsel. The Supreme Court overturned the RI Supreme Court.
D Argument:
Rule: Once warnings have been given, the subsequent procedure is clear. . . . If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present. At that time, the individual must have an opportunity to confer with the attorney and to have him present during any subsequent questioning. If the individual cannot obtain an attorney and he indicates that he wants one before speaking to police, they must respect his decision to remain silent.”
Analysis: In its Miranda opinion, the Court concluded that in the context of “custodial interrogation” certain procedural safeguards are necessary to protect a defendant’s Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination. More specifically, the Court held that “the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” Once the Defendant has invoked his right to counsel, police must scrupulously honor that invocation. This means that the police cannot initiate interrogation until the Defendant’s attorney is present. The starting point for defining “interrogation, the Miranda court explained: “[b]y custodial interrogation, we mean questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way.” “Confessions remain a proper element in law enforcement. Any statement given freely and voluntarily without *300 any compelling influences is, of course, admissible in evidence. The fundamental import of the privilege while an individual is in custody is not whether he is allowed to talk to the police without the benefit of warnings and counsel, but whether he can be interrogated. . . . Volunteered statements of any kind are not barred by the Fifth Amendment. for Miranda purposes, the term “interrogation” refers to any words or action on the part of the police, other than those normally attendant on arrest and custody, that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect. The respondent was not “interrogated” within the meaning of Miranda. It is undisputed that the first prong of the definition of “interrogation” was not satisfied, for the conversation between Patrolmen Gleckman and McKenna included no express questioning of the respondent. Rather, that conversation was, at least in form, nothing more than a dialogue between the two officers to which no response from the respondent was invited.
Concurrence: C.J. Burger – The result is not inconsistent with Miranda, but the additional analysis may cause confusion for police officers in obtaining lawful confessions.

White¨- For the reasons stated in his dissenting opinion in Brewer

Dissent: Marhsall –  Marshall agrees with the definition of “interrogation, but fails to see how this was not designed to elicit incriminating evidence. Because the police had only driven for 1 mile at 4:30 am before Defendant “offered” to show them where the gun was, the police must have immediately began discussing the gun. There is no other interpretation of why they had that discussion in Defendant’s presence.
Cases Cited:

Howes v. Fields (2012) – 132 S. Ct. 1181

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Case Name: Howes v. Fields 
Date: 2012
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The Miranda warning does not have to be given where an inmate is removed for interrogation about activity outside the prison, unless the interrogation is conducted in a way as to have a coercive effect on the speaker; i.e., the speaker’s freedom-of-movement, is restricted.
Brief Analysis: Because the evidence indicates that Fields was told he could end the interrogation whenever he wanted, was free from restraints, and was interrogated in a room where the door was open; it is unlikely that the interrogation presented the same coercive effects that Miranda sought to mitigate.
Topic Area: 5th Amendment

 

Facts: Time 1: Fields was arrested and convicted for an undisclosed crime. Time 2: While in jail, Fields was escorted from his cell to a conference room by an officer.

Time 3: Fields was questioned by sheriffs about criminal conduct before his conviction.

Time 4: No Miranda warnings were given.

Time 5: Fields was told multiple times that he was free to return to his cell, Fields remained free of restraints, the door to the room was open at times, at one point Fields stated he no longer wanted to answer questions; he never asked to return to his cell.

Time 6: Fields was questioned between5 and 7 hours

Time 7: Fields confessed to third-degree sexual conduct.

Court(s) Below: The District Court granted Fields Habeus Corpus relief. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirmed holding that under Mathis, isolation from the general prison population, paired with questioning about conduct outside the prison constituted “custodial interrogation” per se, requiring that Fields be given the Miranda warning.
D Argument:
Rule: The Miranda warning does not have to be given where an inmate is removed for interrogation about activity outside the prison, unless the interrogation is conducted in a way as to have a coercive effect on the speaker; i.e., the speaker’s freedom-of-movement, is restricted.
Analysis: AlitoThe 6th Circuit is simply wrong in finding a categorical rule  that a Miranda warning should be given any time a prisoner is separated from the general prison population and questioned about conduct outside the prison. SCOTUS has refused to adopt a rule that an inmate must be Mirandized every time he is in custody (prison), and speaks to a Government official. The inquiry is whether the inquiry is exerting the coercive effect that Miranda was designed to protect against. “custody” is a term of art that specifies circumstances that are thought generally to present a serious danger of coercion. In determining whether a person is in custody in this sense, the initial step is to ascertain whether, in light of “the objective circumstances of the interrogation. Typically, freedom of movement is a benchmark for “custody”, the question for this is whether the relevant environment presents the same inherently coercive pressures as the type of station house questioning at issue in Miranda. Questioning a person who is already serving a prison term does not generally involve the shock that very often accompanies arrest, the ordinary restrictions of prison life, while no doubt unpleasant, are expected and familiar and thus do not involve the same “inherently compelling pressures” that are often present when a suspect is yanked from familiar surroundings in the outside world and subjected to interrogation in a police station. In short, standard conditions of confinement and associated restrictions on freedom will not necessarily implicate the same interests that the Court sought to protect when it afforded special safeguards to persons subjected to custodial interrogation. Thus, service of a term of imprisonment, without more, is not enough to constitute Miranda custody.

Respondent was told at the outset of the interrogation, and was reminded again thereafter, that he could leave and go back to his cell whenever he wanted.. Moreover, respondent was not physically restrained or threatened and was interviewed in a well-lit, average-sized conference room, where he was “not uncomfortable. He was offered food and water, and the door to the conference room was sometimes left open. All of these objective facts are consistent with an interrogation environment in which a reasonable person would have felt free to terminate the interview and leave

Concurrence: Ginsburg(C/D) – Were the case here on direct review, I would vote to hold that Miranda precludes the State’s introduction of Fields’s confession as evidence against him. As the Court acknowledges, Fields did not invite or consent to the interview He was removed from his cell in the evening, taken to a conference room in the sheriff’s quarters, and questioned by two armed deputies long into the night and early morning. He was not told at the outset that he had the right to decline to speak with the deputies.. Shut in with the armed officers, Fields felt “trapped.” Although told he could return to his cell if he did not want to cooperate, Fields believed the deputies “would not have allowed [him] to leave the room”. And with good reason. More than once, “he told the officers … he did not want to speak with them anymore. He was given water,  but not his evening medications, Yet the Court concludes that Fields was in “an interrogation environment in which a reasonable person would have felt free to terminate the interview and leave. This is simply not the case.
Dissent: N/A
Cases Cited: Mathis – an inmate in a state prison was questioned by an Internal Revenue agent and was subsequently convicted for federal offenses. The Court of Appeals held that Miranda did not apply to this interview for two reasons: A criminal investigation had not been commenced at the time of the interview, and the prisoner was incarcerated for an “unconnected offense.” Mathis v. United States. SCOTUS rejected both of those grounds for distinguishing Miranda, and thus, the holding in Mathis is simply that a prisoner who otherwise meets the requirements for Miranda custody is not taken outside the scope of Miranda by either of the two factors on which the Court of Appeals had relied. Mathis did not hold that imprisonment, in and of itself, is enough to constitute Miranda custody.

Dun And Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. (1985) – 472 U.S. 749

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Case Name: Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. 
Date: 1985
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The First Amendment does not protect the speech of a non-media party, when its actions create slander and/or libel against another private party.
Brief Analysis: While the First Amendment affords media defendants great protection, when they are reporting on issues of “public concern”, non-media defendants cannot use that same protection when their actions cause damages to private parties.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts: Petitioner sent a credit report to five subscribers, indicating that Respondent had filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy. The report was false, the result of the Petitioner’s use of a 17-year-old high school student to review the bankruptcy proceedings. Respondent was actually in good credit standing, but one of its employees had, indeed, filed bankruptcy. When respondent learned of the error, it called Petitioner, explained the error, and asked for a correction. Petitioner sent out a notice of the mistake, but refused to disclose its subscribers
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The First Amendment does not protect the speech of a non-media party, when its actions create slander and/or libel against another private party.
Analysis:  While the First Amendment affords media defendants great protection, when they are reporting on issues of “public concern”, non-media defendants cannot use that same protection when their actions cause damages to private parties.
Concurrence: N/A
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: In reaching its conclusion, the Court focused on content, form, and context, in considering whether the Defendant’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. In this case, the Court found that the Defendant, a private subscription service, was not reporting on an issue of public concern when it made its report regarding the Plaintiff, and as such, it could not seek protection under the First Amendment.

Time, Inc. v. Firestone (1976) – 424 U.S. 448,

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Case Name:

Time, Inc. v. Firestone

Date:

1976

Jurisdiction:

Supreme Court of the United States

Rule:

NEW YORK RULE: Defamation against a public figure cannot be maintained absent a showing of actual malice.

PUBLIC FIGURE: Where an individual assumes a  role of especial prominence in the affairs of society, or voluntarily thrusts  themselves to the forefront of a particular public controversy in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved in it

Brief Analysis:

Respondent was not a ‘‘public figure’’ for the purpose of determining the constitutional protection afforded petitioner’s report of the factual and legal basis for her divorce. Therefore, the Gertz analysis applies, and Defendant cannot claim a defense on the basis of a lack of actual malice.

NOTE: The Court applies  Crane requirements once it decides that Firestone is not a public figure, so had the defamation been true as to the entire scope of what was said – they would escape liability. Alternatively, if the facts tended to prove the entirety of the allegation, Defendant would only be partially liable.

Topic Area:

Defamation

 

Facts:

Plaintiff, the wife of an ultra-wealthy individual filed for divorce from her husband, with both of them alleging serious adulterous activity. The Court filed a very strongly worded opinion. This information was then passed to Defendant – based on four independent sources, Defendant published: “DIVORCED. By Russell A. Firestone, Jr., 41, heir to the tire fortune:

Mary Alice Sullivan Firestone, 32, his third wife; a onetime Palm Beach schoolteacher; on grounds of extreme cruelty and adultery; after six years of marriage, one son; in West Palm Beach, Fla. The 17– month intermittent trial produced enough testimony of extramarital adventures on both sides, said the judge, ‘to make Dr. Freud’s hair curl.’  ’’ Within a few weeks of the publication of this article respondent demanded in writing a retraction from petitioner, alleging that a portion of the article was ‘‘false, malicious and defamatory.’’ Petitioner declined to issue the requested retraction.

P Argument:

 

D Argument:

 

Rule:

NEW YORK RULE: Defamation against a public figure cannot be maintained absent a showing of actual malice.

PUBLIC FIGURE: Where an individual assumes a  role of especial prominence in the affairs of society, or voluntarily thrusts  themselves to the forefront of a particular public controversy in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved in it

Analysis:

Dissolution of a marriage through judicial proceedings is not the sort of ‘‘public controversy’’ referred to in Gertz, even though the marital difficulties of extremely wealthy individuals may be of interest to some portion of the reading public. Nor did respondent freely choose to publicize issues as to the propriety of her married life. She was compelled to go to court by the State in order to obtain legal release from the bonds of matrimony. We have said that in such an instance resort to the judicial process is no more voluntary in a realistic sense than that of the defendant called upon to defend his interests in court. Her actions, both in instituting the  litigation and in its conduct, were quite different from those of General Walker in

Curtis Publishing Co She assumed no ‘‘special prominence in the resolution of public questions. Respondent was not a ‘‘public figure’’ for the purpose of determining the constitutional protection afforded petitioner’s report of the factual and legal basis for her divorce. Therefore, the Gertz analysis applies, and Defendant cannot claim a defense on the basis of a lack of actual malice.

NOTE: The Court applies  Crane requirements once it decides that Firestone is not a public figure, so had the defamation been true as to the entire scope of what was said – they would escape liability. Alternatively, if the facts tended to prove the entirety of the allegation, Defendant would only be partially liable.

Concurrence:

N/A

Dissent:

N/A

Conclusion:

Respondent was not a ‘‘public figure’’ for the purpose of determining the constitutional protection afforded petitioner’s report of the factual and legal basis for her divorce. Therefore, the Gertz analysis applies, and Defendant cannot claim a defense on the basis of a lack of actual malice.

NOTE: The Court applies  Crane requirements once it decides that Firestone is not a public figure, so had the defamation been true as to the entire scope of what was said – they would escape liability. Alternatively, if the facts tended to prove the entirety of the allegation, Defendant would only be partially liable.

Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974) – 418 U.S. 323,

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Case Name: Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc.
Date: 1974
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule:     The standard defamation rules apply to private individuals, the NY Times rule was not extended to private individuals.
Brief Analysis:      Because private individuals have less effective opportunities for rebuttal than do public officials and public figures, they are more vulnerable to injury from defamation. Thus, state interest in compensating injury to the reputation of private individuals is greater than for public officials and public figures, and States may constitutionally allow private individuals to recover damages for defamation on the basis of any standard of care except liability without fault.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts:        After a policeman killed a youth, the youth’s family retained the Petitioner an attorney to represent them in a civil action. In a magazine called American Opinion, the John Birch Society accused the Petitioner of being a “Leninist” and a “Communist-fronter” because he chose to represent clients who were suing a law enforcement officer. Because the statements contained serious inaccuracies, the Petitioner filed a libel action against the Respondent. The district court held that the New York Times standard applied, which meant that the Respondent escaped liability unless the Petitioner proved that a defamatory falsehood was published with actual malice. The district court entered judgment for the Respondent and the court of appeals affirmed.
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The constitutional guarantees (1st Amendment)  require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.

The rules do not extend to private individuals .

Analysis: Because the Petitioner was not a public figure, the state’s interest in compensating injury to his reputation required a different standard from that formulated in New York Times. The Supreme Court held further that the states could define for themselves the appropriate standard of liability for a publisher or broadcaster of defamatory falsehood injuries to a private individual.
Concurrence: N/A
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: New York Times v. Sullivan protected defamatory publications again public official, in this case, the Court is refuses to extend the NY Times rational to private individuals because the underlying reason for the NY Times case was that public officials have opportunity to rebutt fallacies, private individuals do not have that opportunity.

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) – 376 U.S. 254,

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Case Name: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Date: 1964
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of the United States
Rule: The constitutional guarantees require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Brief Analysis: In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts: The Plaintiff was one of three Commissioners of Montgomery, Alabama, who claimed that he was defamed in a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times. The advertisement was entitled, “Heed Their Rising Voices” and it charged in part that an unprecedented wave of terror had been directed against those who participated in the civil rights movement in the South. Some of the particulars of the advertisement were false. Although the advertisement did not mention the Plaintiff by name, he claimed that it referred to him indirectly because he had oversight responsibility of the police. The Defendant claimed that it authorized publication of the advertisement because it did not have any reason to believe that its contents were false. There was no independent effort to check its accuracy. The Plaintiff demanded that the Defendant retract the advertisement. The Defendant was puzzled as to why the Plaintiff thought the advertisement reflected adversely on him. The jury found the ad libe
lous per se and actionable without proof of malice. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $500,000 in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. The Defendant appealed.
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule: The constitutional guarantees (1st Amendment)  require a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
Analysis:     Safeguards for freedom of speech and of the press are required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution (Constitution) in a libel action brought by a public official against critics of his official conduct

Erroneous statement is inevitable in free debate and it must be protected if the freedoms of expression are to have the breathing space that the need to survive.

The Constitution delimits a State’s power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against critics of their official conduct. In this case, the rule requiring proof of actual malice is applicable.
The Defendant’s failure to retract the advertisement upon the Plaintiff’s demand is not adequate evidence of malice for constitutional purposes. Likewise, it is not adequate evidence of malice that the Defendant failed to check the advertisements accuracy against the news stories in the Defendant’s own files.

Concurrence: Black (J. Black) The First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution do not merely “delimit” a State’s power to award damages, but completely prohibit a State from exercising such a power. The Defendant had an absolute, unconditional right to publish criticisms of the Montgomery agencies and officials.
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: In order for a public official to recover in a defamation action involving his official conduct, malice must be proved. Without the showing of malice, the Supreme Court felt that a defamation action in this case would severely cripple the safeguards of freedom speech and expression that are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution and applicable to the States via the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

Watt v. Longsdon (1929) – 1 K.B. 130.

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Case Name: Watt v. Longsdon
Date: 1929
Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal
Rule: A speaker is privileged to make defamatory statements about another when the speaker had either a duty or an interest to publish the statements. The privilege may be lost if: (1) they go beyond the limits of the duty of interest; or, (2) they is published with express malice, so that the occasion is not being legitimately used, but abused.There are three occasions giving rise to a privileged communication: (1) a duty to communicate information believed to be true to a person who has a material interest in receiving the information; (2) an interest in the speaker to be protected by communicating information, if true, relevant to that interest, to a person honestly believed to have a duty to protect that interest; or, (3) a common interest in and reciprocal duty in respect of the subject matter of the communication between speaker and recipient.
Brief Analysis: In this case, the Court finds that there was not a moral or social duty in the Defendant to make this communication to the Plaintiff’s wife as to make the occasion privileged. There must be a new trial so far as it relates to the claim for publication of a libel to the Plaintiff’s wife. There should also be a new trial as to malice defeating the privilege in the Defendant’s other two communications.
Topic Area: Defamation

 

Facts: The Plaintiff, the Defendant and Browne worked for the same oil company. Browne wrote a letter to the Defendant. Browne’s letter claimed that the Plaintiff had an unpaid liquor bill, which Browne doubted would ever get paid, that the Plaintiff’s maid was his mistress, even though she was an old woman and stone deaf, almost blind and had dyed hair, that the Plaintiff had had orgies with dancing girls, that the Plaintiff had designs on Browne’s wife, and that the Plaintiff was a blackguard, a thief, a liar and lives exclusively to satisfy his own passions and lust. Browne suggested that the chairman of the board of the company be shown the letter, but not the Plaintiff’s wife until sworn statements could be taken. The Defendant then wrote Browne a letter, which stated that the Defendant shared the same views that bribes should be paid to get sworn statements and that the Defendant would inform the Plaintiff’s wife, but not without the sworn statements in hand. A few days later before the Defendant even got a reply to his letter to Browne, the Defendant showed the letter Browne wrote to the Plaintiff’s wife. She filed for divorce. The Plaintiff sued for libel. The trial court ruled the letters privileged. The court of appeals reversed.
P Argument:
D Argument:
Rule:          A speaker is privileged to make defamatory statements about another when the speaker had either a duty or an interest to publish the statements. The privilege may be lost if: (1) they go beyond the limits of the duty of interest; or, (2) they is published with express malice, so that the occasion is not being legitimately used, but abused.There are three occasions giving rise to a privileged communication: (1) a duty to communicate information believed to be true to a person who has a material interest in receiving the information; (2) an interest in the speaker to be protected by communicating information, if true, relevant to that interest, to a person honestly believed to have a duty to protect that interest; or, (3) a common interest in and reciprocal duty in respect of the subject matter of the communication between speaker and recipient.
Analysis: TO THE BOARD: In this case, there was a duty, both from a moral and material point of view for the Defendant to communicate the letter to the board of the company. Also, the Defendant was privileged to discuss the letter with Browne, on the ground of a common interest in the affairs of the company. These two occasions where privileged.TO THE WIFE: The communication to the Plaintiff’s wife stands on different footing. It is impossible to say that a defendant is never under a duty to communicate to a husband or wife information he receives as to the conduct of the other party to the marriage. Likewise, it cannot be said that it is the duty of even a friend to communicate all the gossip the friend hears at men’s clubs or women’s bridge parties to one of the spouses affected. It must depend on the circumstances of each case.

In this case, the Court finds that there was not a moral or social duty in the Defendant to make this communication to the Plaintiff’s wife as to make the occasion privileged. There must be a new trial so far as it relates to the claim for publication of a libel to the Plaintiff’s wife. There should also be a new trial as to malice defeating the privilege in the Defendant’s other two communications.

Concurrence: (L.J. Greer) In my judgment, no right-minded man in the position of the Defendant would have thought it right to communicate the horrible accusations contained in Browne’s letter.
Dissent: N/A
Conclusion: In this case, the Court finds that there was not a moral or social duty in the Defendant to make this communication to the Plaintiff’s wife as to make the occasion privileged. There must be a new trial so far as it relates to the claim for publication of a libel to the Plaintiff’s wife. There should also be a new trial as to malice defeating the privilege in the Defendant’s other two communications.