Bartlett v. Flaherty

Decision Date31 May 1967
Citation230 A.2d 436,155 Conn. 203
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesLester F. BARTLETT v. Leo B. FLAHERTY, Jr.

Harry Hammer, Rockville, for appellant (plaintiff).

Bourke G. Spellacy, Hartford, with whom was Alexander A. Goldfarb, Hartford, for appellee (defendant).


THIM, Associate Justice.

The substituted complaint contains seven counts, each charging the defendant, the mayor of Rockville, with making certain defamatory statements concerning the actions of the plaintiff while he was a member of the Rockville police department. The defendant, by his answer, denied the material allegations of the complaint. The defendant also pleaded, by way of a special defense, that the alleged defamatory statements were in fact and in substance, true. See Atwater v. Morning News Co., 67 Conn. 504, 520, 521, 34 A. 865. The plaintiff replied, denying the defendant's allegation that the statements were true. The case was tried to the court, which rendered judgment for the defendant. The court found and concluded that the defendant's statements were of a privileged character, that the plaintiff was a public officer and that the statements concerning him were not made with actual malice, and that the defendant's statements were true.

The plaintiff assigned error to all of the findings and conclusions of the court stated above. He has chosen, however, to brief only certain of his assignments of error. The errors which he assigned to the court's finding and conclusion that the defendant's statements were true are not briefed. Therefore, these assignments of error must be considered abandoned. Derby Savings Bank v. Kurkowski, 155 Conn. --, 230 A.2d 26; Kasowitz v. Mutual Construction Co., 154 Conn. 607, 612, 228 A.2d 149.

A properly pleaded defense that the statements complained of were true is, when proven, a sufficient plea in justification. See Johnson v. Whipple, 117 Conn. 599, 601, 169 A. 619; Corsello v. Emerson Bros., Inc., 106 Conn. 127, 131, 137 A. 390; Atwarter v. Morning News Co., supra; see also Hogan v. New York Times Co., 313 F.2d 354, 355 n.1 (2d Cir.). To prevail on this appeal, the plaintiff would be required to show that the court had committed harmful error in finding and concluding that the defendant had proven his special defense of truth. Because the plaintiff has abandoned his attack on the court's finding and conclusion that the statements were true, his appeal must...

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11 cases
  • Lieberman v. Gant
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • August 2, 1979
    ...that truth is an absolute defense to the torts of libel and slander. Prosser, Law of Torts, § 116 (4th ed. 1971); Bartlett v. Flaherty, 155 Conn. 203, 205, 230 A.2d 436 (1967). It is true that in the spring of 1972 the plaintiff attempted to have elected to the departmental committee person......
  • Hartford Elec. Light Co. v. Water Resources Commission
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1971
    ...argued this assignment of error and it is, therefore, abandoned. Marquis v. Drost, 155 Conn. 327, 330, 231 A.2d 527; Bartlett v. Flaherty, 155 Conn. 203, 205, 230 A.2d 436; Monahan v. Montgomery, 153 Conn. 386, 389, 216 A.2d 824. Assignments of error are also deemed to be abandoned where th......
  • State v. Cobuzzi
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • June 25, 1971
    ...assignments, they must be treated as abandoned. Johnston Jewels, Ltd. v. Leonard, 156 Conn. 75, 77, 239 A.2d 500; Bartlett v. Flaherty, 155 Conn. 203, 205, 230 A.2d 436. The first question is whether, in light of the facts found, the arrest, to which it is claimed the search was incident, w......
  • Dacey v. Connecticut Bar Ass'n
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1976
    ...It claims that the statements, which were limited, were true as made. Truth is a defense in a civil action for libel. Bartlett v. Flaherty, 155 Conn. 203, 205, 230 A.2d 436; Johnson v. Whipple, 117 Conn. 599, 601, 169 A. 619. See Cox Broadcast Corporation v. Cohn, 420 U.S. 469, 489-90, 95 S......
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