Kutztown, PA - 1889 Purple Star Cancel Mar 13, 2014 16:12:18 GMT Ryan, ratio411, and 1 more like this
Post by Zuzu on Mar 13, 2014 16:12:18 GMT
From Kutztown, Penn. May 27, 1889
To Mr. J. Ezra Foltz at Deodate, Dauphin County, PA
Google brings up this interesting tidbit from The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA) May 12, 1920:
Fined $198 for Slander A civil court jury concluded last evening that J. Ezra Foltz, Deodate creamery man, slandered Mrs. Emma K. Herr, one of his Conewago Township neighbors, and Foltz was directed to pay the woman $198.98, together with the costs of, the case.
July 28, 1921, also from The Evening News:
(emphasis mine, and I cleaned up stray marks and odd letters from OCR text)
JUDGE REFUSES NEW TRIAL IN SLANDER SUIT Judge Frank B. Wickersham today declined to grant a retrial In a Conewago Township slander suit In which Mrs. Emma K. Herr was awarded a verdict of $195.83 In her claim against J. Ezra Foltz, Deodate creamery man. It is a case in which the judge sustained the legal contention that it amount to slander if one person makes malicious statements to a husband about his wife. The court went into a long discussion of the subject and quoted numerous authorities wherein courts previously laid down rules that prevent public "gossips" from interfering in a married couple's affairs. In one instance, Judge Wicker-sham quoted Judge Barnett, who once said: "Could any publication of a slander imputing immorality be more injurious to the defamed than its communication to his or her spouse? The pregnant possibilities of domestic discord and complete disruption of the marital relation are obvious. And may the defamer thus wreck the conjugal establishments, shatter the hearthstone, pour the sweet milk of concord into hell, and escape punishment by dodging behind a legal fiction? The theory of the unity of husband and wife has not even in England been pushed to such an extreme." The Judge cited another case in which a court held that a "defendant's liability is not qualified by the fact that the defamatory words were communicated to members of plaintiff's family only, since as much protection is due a man's reputation in the presence of his family as in the presence of strangers. Thus a publication to the "husband or wife of plaintiff is a publication within the contemplation of the law."
He must have said something pretty bad. According to an online inflation calculator, $198.98 in 1920 had the same buying power as $2,453.55 in 2014.