Faulk v. Aware, Inc.
Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
244 N.Y.S.2d 259 (App. Div. 1963)
John Henry Faulk (plaintiff) was a popular radio and television performer. Aware, Inc. (Aware) (defendant) was a corporation established to combat communism in the entertainment and communication industries. Aware and its president made and widely distributed statements charging Faulk with having communist sympathies and affiliations. Faulk brought suit against Aware for libel, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He presented evidence that before the defamatory statements were made, he enjoyed significant success as a television performer. He offered proof of his earning capacity through experts in the industry familiar with his achievements and abilities. Additionally, he demonstrated that after the statements made by Aware and its president, his employment opportunities sharply decreased or disappeared. The jury awarded Faulk $1,000,000 in compensatory damages and $1,250,000 in punitive damages against both Aware and its president, Vincent Hartnett (defendant). The trial court upheld the jury’s award of both compensatory and punitive damages, and Aware and Hartnett appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rabin, J.)
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