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Tallent v. Blake

North Carolina Court of Appeals
291 S.E.2d 336 (1982)


Facts

On May 1, Jerry Blake (defendant), the employer of Rhonda Tallent (plaintiff), told her to do a job or else. Tallent later testified that she asked what Blake meant by the phrase or else, and Blake responded she would be fired. Blake testified that Tallent said that she quit. On May 2, Blake told a newspaper reporter that any claim Tallent was fired was false, and the newspaper quoted Blake in an article. Tallent sued Blake for slander on May 13. Tallent testified that because she lost her job, she fell behind in payments on various accounts in June and July, and that she filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in October. Tallent also testified that she suffered worry, loss of sleep, and emotional problems that caused her to seek medical treatment in June and July. Blake asserted truth as a defense and moved for a directed verdict, arguing that his statement was not slanderous and that Tallent failed to prove special damages. The judge denied Blake’s motion. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Tallent. The judge denied Blake’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Blake appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hill, J.)

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