Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
  • E
  • Ellsworth v. Martindale-Hubbell Law Director…Ellsworth v. Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, Inc.
From our private database of 16,800+ case briefs...

Ellsworth v. Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, Inc.

North Dakota Supreme Court
280 N.W. 879 (N.D. 1938)


Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, Inc. (Martindale-Hubbell) (defendant) operated a widely-read directory of lawyers. It provided ratings of lawyers, depicted with symbols, for use by other lawyers in forwarding legal business. From 1907 to 1926, Ellsworth (plaintiff), an attorney, received very high ratings on Martindale-Hubbell. However, in 1928, his ratings dropped to predominantly “fair.” In 1929, his ratings were blank, suggesting his performance was so poor as to prohibit him from receiving mention in the directory. Ellsworth brought suit against Martindale-Hubbell for defamation, alleging he suffered a diminution in business due to the low ratings, which he labeled defamatory. The trial court ruled his claim was not actionable per se and ordered Ellsworth to prove special damages. In his amended complaint, Ellsworth presented evidence that his income was substantially lower after 1928, and attributed this to poor Martindale-Hubbell rating. The trial court overruled Martindale-Hubbell’s demurrer to the complaint.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Nuessle, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 448,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 448,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,800 briefs, keyed to 224 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial