Citation. Economopoulos v. A. G. Pollard Co., 218 Mass. 294, 105 N.E. 896
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Brief Fact Summary.
The Plaintiff, Economopoulos (Plaintiff), sued the Defendant, A.G. Pollard Co. (Defendant) because its clerks falsely accused him of stealing. No one was present who spoke the language that the accusation took place in except for the Plaintiff and the clerk.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
To maintain a defamation cause, publication of the defamatory statement must occur to some one other than the person defamed.
A clerk of the Defendant told the Plaintiff in English that the Plaintiff had stolen a handkerchief. The Plaintiff spoke Greek, so a Greek clerk told the Plaintiff the same thing in Greek. No evidence showed that any third person heard the charge except the floor walker. The Plaintiff brought a tort charge for maliciously accusing him of larceny by words spoken.
Can publication occur when no third person hears the slanderous statement except persons who do not speak the same language?
No. Exceptions overruled.
* There was no evidence that anyone, but the Plaintiff was present when the first clerk spoke to the Plaintiff in English. There was no evidence that anyone present except the Plaintiff understood the words spoken by the second clerk. Therefore, no publication was made.
Publication in defamation cases does not refer to any sort of writing, but rather means communication of the words to some other person than the person defamed.