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Hinsdale v. Orange County Publications, Inc.

17 N.Y.2d 284 (1966)

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Hinsdale v. Orange County Publications, Inc.

New York Court of Appeals

17 N.Y.2d 284 (1966)

Facts

A newspaper owned by Orange County Publications, Inc. (the newspaper) (defendant) announced the engagement of Robert Hinsdale (plaintiff) and Concetta Kay Rieber (plaintiff). This announcement was wrong. Hinsdale and Rieber were not engaged. Hinsdale was married to a different woman and had two children. Rieber was married to a different man and had three sons. Hinsdale and Rieber believed their reputations had been damaged because the announcement would lead people to believe that they divorced their spouses to marry each other, an action that would put them in moral disrepute. Hinsdale and Rieber had no special damages. Hinsdale and Rieber sued, alleging libel per se. The trial court dismissed their complaints, stating that there was no libel per se because the words were not libelous per se without reference to outside facts. An appellate court affirmed. Hinsdale and Rieber appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Desmond, C.J.)

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