Arnold v. Lutz

Citation120 N.W. 121,141 Iowa 596
PartiesMRS. JACOB L. ARNOLD, Appellee, v. MRS. JOHN LUTZ, Appellant
Decision Date13 March 1909
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa

Appeal from Story District Court.--HON. R. M. WRIGHT, Judge.

THIS is an action for slander. Judgment for the plaintiff, and defendant appeals.


E. H Addison and B. B. Welty, for appellant.

U. S Alderman and Fitchpatrick & McCall, for appellee.



The plaintiff brought her action in two counts. In the first with proper innuendo, she charges the publication by defendant of the following alleged slanderous language: "Mrs. Arnold is too intimate with the hired man." In the second count she charges the publication of the following slanderous language: "Mrs. Arnold has been sleeping with the hired man." The first of these alleged slanders is charged to have been uttered on the 12th of June, 1906, and the second in the latter part of August or 1st of September of the same year. At the time of the publication of the alleged slanders the plaintiff was a married woman, living with her husband, who had in his employ a hired man. Plaintiff alleges in her petition that by the slanderous words set forth in each count the defendant intended to charge the plaintiff with having committed the crime of adultery with the said hired man. On the trial the plaintiff produced witnesses who testified in support of each count. Two witnesses testified that the defendant uttered in their presence the exact words set forth in the first count of the petition, and one witness testified that the defendant uttered in his presence the words charged in the second count of the petition, and on the date charged. A fourth witness testified that he worked in defendant's family from February to December, 1906, and during that period he heard the defendant make the statement charged in count 2 of the petition. The defendant's principal complaint on appeal is that the words charged in the first count of the petition are not slanderous per se, and that, no special damages having been pleaded or proved, such count should not have been submitted to the jury. This objection was urged to the court below in the form of objections to evidence and exceptions to instructions. The contention is that the word "intimate" is capable of an innocent meaning, and that there is nothing in the record to justify a finding that it was used in any other sense by the defendant, and that if the same was in fact used in a defamatory sense, no recovery could be had without pleading and proving special damages.

The words under consideration were slanderous per se, if slanderous at all. Granted that the word "intimate" is capable of an innocent meaning, it is also capable of use in a defamatory sense. If the defendant intended its use in a defamatory sense, then it was defamatory and slanderous per se. Collins v. Dispatch Co., 152 Pa 187 (25 A. 546, 34 Am. St. Rep., 636); Wilcox v. Moon, 63 Vt. 481 (22 A. 80); Craver v. Norton, 114 Iowa 46, 86 N.W. 54; Wimer v. Allbaugh, 78 Iowa 79, 42...

To continue reading

Request your trial
1 cases
  • Arnold v. Lutz
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 13, 1909

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT