Citation. 276 Md. 580, 350 A.2d 688, 1976 Md.
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Brief Fact Summary.
Sindorf (Plaintiff) brought suit against his former employer, Defendant, for defamation, after he learned that Defendant had made derogatory remarks about him to his new employer.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
While a conditional privilege may exist, when two parties are discussing another party they have in common, and there is truth to the discussion, the question of whether the communication was made out of malice is still a proper question for a jury.
Plaintiff, Defendant’s former employee, resigned after a dispute as to his sales practice. After Plaintiff sought employment with a competitor, Defendant’s Vice President called Plaintiff’s new employer and made derogatory insinuations regarding Plaintiff’s honesty. Plaintiff brought suit for defamation. The trial court held that the conversation between Plaintiff’s current and former employers was privileged, and directed verdict for Defendant. Plaintiff appealed.
This case considers whether a conditional privilege exists in defamation suits where the Plaintiff is a former employee of the Defendant.
* The court reversed the judgment, holding that a privilege may exist where the truth is in question. The question of malice must be for a jury, and Plaintiff may be afforded the opportunity to bring suit.
When considering whether a communication was made with malice, the question will be presented to a jury for determinati