Plaintiff brought an action in slander alleging that defendant orally described him as a Communist during the course of a neighborhood argument. Plaintiff further asserted that when the defamatory words were spoken he held the position of an official in the United Financial Employees Union. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Held, complaint dismissed with leave to amend. The court ruled that the averments were not sufficient to show special damage to the plaintiff, nor did they support an interpretation that the words were spoken of and concerning the plaintiff in his business or occupation and thus actionable per se. The court further ruled that it was not slander per se to call one a Communist, for a rule to the contrary would trap the unwary and benefit the cause of Communism in the United States. Keefe v. O'Brien, 116 N.Y.S. (2d) 286 (1952)."
David D. Dowd, Jr.,
TORTS-LIBEL AND SLANDER,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol51/iss6/19