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Dunlap v. Wayne

716 P.2d 842 (1986)

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Dunlap v. Wayne

Washington Supreme Court

716 P.2d 842 (1986)

Facts

Marlin Dunlap (plaintiff), a bank branch manager, provided information to Robert Koivisto concerning a property-development opportunity. Koivisto formed a partnership with Marvin Wayne (defendant) and two others to develop the property. Dunlap continued to provide consulting services to the partnership, for which the partnership agreed to pay Dunlap $10,000. The partnership was dissolved prior to the project’s completion. Dunlap’s attorney then attempted to collect the unpaid $10,000 from Wayne’s attorney. By letter, Wayne’s attorney threatened to inform Dunlap’s employer that Dunlap was seeking kickbacks for attempting to arrange financing for the partnership. Dunlap’s requests for payment continued. Wayne called the president of the bank where Dunlap worked and told the bank president of Dunlap’s collection attempts. The bank president requested documentation pertaining to Dunlap and the partnership. Wayne and his attorney met with another official of the bank and provided the documentation. Dunlap was fired from the bank and brought an action for defamation against Wayne. Dunlap alleged that the bank president told him that Wayne had accused Dunlap of trying to collect kickbacks and engage in shakedowns, but both the bank president and Wayne denied using the terms “kickbacks” or “shakedowns.” The trial court dismissed Dunlap’s action on summary judgment. Dunlap appealed. The appellate court affirmed. Dunlap again appealed. The Washington Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Utter, J.)

Dissent (Dore, J.)

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