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Bindrim v. Mitchell

Court of Appeal of California for the Second District
92 Cal.App.3d 61 (1979)


Dr. Paul Bindrim (plaintiff), a psychologist, ran nude group therapy sessions, seeking to have participants shed their psychological inhibitions. Gwen Davis Mitchell (defendant), a novelist, enrolled in one of the sessions, claiming that she was there for the therapy only. Subsequently, she contracted with Doubleday (defendant) to write a book based on the nude therapy technique. She used a fake name for the doctor that conducted the sessions in her book. However, although the name and appearance of the doctor in her book was different from Bindrim, the character was otherwise similar to Bindrim. In fact, Bindrim was identified as the character by several witnesses. Bindrim brought libel suits against Mitchell and Doubleday. The jury returned a verdict for Bindrim, but the court granted a motion for a new trial conditioned on Bindrim accepting a remittitur. Both Bindrim and Mitchell and Doubleday appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kingsley, J.)

Concurrence (Jefferson, J.)

Dissent (Files, P.J.)

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