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Dairy Stores, Inc. v. Sentinel Publishing Co., Inc.

516 A.2d 220 (1986)

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Dairy Stores, Inc. v. Sentinel Publishing Co., Inc.

New Jersey Supreme Court

516 A.2d 220 (1986)

Facts

A town experienced a drought and issues with its tap water, resulting in increased sales of bottled water. The newspaper the Sentinel, owned by Sentinel Publishing Co. (Sentinel) (defendant), published a series of articles on the subject written by Kathleen Dzielak (defendant). One article focused on bottled water—labeled as spring water—sold by Dairy Stores, Inc. (plaintiff), which did business as Krauszer’s Food Stores (Krauszer’s). Dzielak took a bottle of water purchased from Krauszer’s to a laboratory, which found that the water included chlorine. This was published in a story that included a quote from the laboratory director to the effect that the water most likely did not come from springs. Krauszer’s brought suit for defamation. The trial court found in favor of Dzielak and Sentinel on First Amendment grounds, ruling that the articles were published without malice. Krauszer’s appealed, and the appellate court affirmed, similarly citing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Following another appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

Concurrence (Garibaldi, J.)

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