opening the very law, equity side of.the court, ,would be. equi.valent tograpjing in equity a, new trial of a suit trie4.aHaw. This cannotQe tolerated. On tqe whole, am of the opinion that the, bill does not state a case entitling the complainant to the relief. he seeks, and therefore that the should be sustained, and t4e bill dismissed.
(Circuit Court, No IJ.l11inoiB. February
The word "crank" has no necessary defamatory meaning; and for a paper. to publish an item that a certain pamphlet, written bI a lawyer who W,QS ,also the author of a text-book on the law of patents, was the effusion of . a, i,s not without a charge in t!?-e de.claration of the alleged defamatory meanmg of the word by an approprIate mnuendo, and an aver, ,merit and, proof of special damage. 4,charge in ,the declaration that the purpose of the publication in applying the term" crank" to the plaintiff was "to impute to him sundry qualities, aims,' and highly inconsistent with usefulness as a lawyer, or as an author, " is not an appropriate averment or innuendo that the word was used .. in adebmatorysens6, ,and the declaration is bad on demurrer.
LxBEL AND SLANDER-WHAT
3. SAME-SPECIAL DAMAGE;
The mere statement in the declaration 'that the plaintiff, by reason of being thus called a "crank, " had been deprived of divers gr, e"at earnings in his profession, and had lost royalties on the sales of his book, is too vague and inliefinlte to serve as an averInent of special damage, and the declaration is bad on general demurrer. ' ' ,Whether or not the character of a pamphlet alleged by the defendant to be the "effusion of a crank" warranted the application of that term to the plaintiff. fila matter of justification to be pleaded and proved by the defendant, and the declaration is not demurrable for failing to set the pamphlet out.
At Law. Action to recover damages for a A. H.Walker, for himself. A. S. Trude, for defendant.
BLODGETT, J. This is a demurrer to a declaration filed by the plaintiff in this case. ThedeclaratioIl-avers, in substance, that plaintiff is, and has been for several years paSt, a lawyer by profession, and the author of a text-book uppn the law of patents,and also the author of a pam"The Bribery Case and the United States Senate;" tl;1/lt defendant, intending to cause.itto be suspected and believed that plaintiff Ii man of crude, ill dig,ested, ill considered, and wild ideas and aims, and to be supposed to be witp.out skill, tact, adequateinformation, or common sense, on the fourth day of September, 1886, in this district" did wrongfully, falsely, and maliciously cause to be composed, and pubJished, on the editorial page of the Chicago Tribune of
tbatdate.,'.the following false and defamatory language concerning the plaintiff,; ll.ndconcerning said pamphletjthat is to say: " The pamphlet on the Paine Bribery Case and the United States Senate, by Albert H. Walker, is plainly the effusion of a crankj"-meaning thereby to publicly characterize the plaintiff as a "crank," and thus to publicly impute to him sundry qualities, aims, and methods highly inconsistent with usefulness and success as a lawyer and author, whereby plaintiff has been greatly prejudiced in his credit.and reputation, and caused to be considered an unreliable and injudicious person, and destitute of those qualities on which the earnings of a lawyer or a serious author dependj and has been greatly vexed and mortified, and has been deprived of divers great earnings which would otherwise have accrued to him in his professional duties; and divers great royalties which otherwise would have been paid to him on sales of his books. is general and special, the grounds of the general deThe murrer being (1) that the word is not in itself defamatory or actionable, and there is no averment or innuendo in the declaration stating that ,the defendant's meaning, or the sense in which the word was used, was such as to make it defamatory, orimply any libelous intention; (2) that the pamphlet referred to. in the defendant's criticism as "plainly the effusion of a crank" shofl.ld have been set out, so that the court could judge whether the language used by the defendant in regard to it was justified fromtlle tenor of the pamphlet itself. The ground for special demurrer is that there is no. averment of special damage or injury to the plaintiff by reason of the alleged defamatory m.atter. first it must, I think, be. conceded that to call a person a "crank" is not of itself actionable. It is not a word which, by its common U1eaning in the English language, imports that a person has been guilty of a crime, o,r exposes him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, Qr which would tend to injure him in his trade or profession. The wordhas'llo ll'ecessary defam.atory meaning, and, ifit was used by the defendant in a defamatory sense, such sense must be given it by an appropriate allegation or innuendo to/thateffect. The meaning alleged in the declaration is "thus to pUblicly impute to him [plaintiflJ sundry qualities, aims, and methods highly inconsistent with usefulness as a lawyer or as an author.". This is not enough. Some opprobrious or defamatory meaning-something which would. show that the expression used would tend to bring the plaintiff into contempt or hatred, or charge him with a criminal offense-is necessary. It is no libel upon a man who has entered the field of authorship to underrate his talents. As to the second point, it was not necessary for the plaintiff to set out his pamphlet as part of the If defendant wishes to justify the application of the or word "crank" to the plaintiff, in can· nectionwith this pamphlet, it can so plead, and put the pamphlet in evidence before 'the jury. The special cause of demurrer assigned, that there was no averment of special damage to the plaintiff, need not, as it seems to me, have been