Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., No. A--102

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation219 A.2d 523,47 N.J. 126
Decision Date02 May 1966
Docket NumberNo. A--102
PartiesEdward A. DEVLIN and Oceanside Hospital, Inc., Plaintiffs-Respondents, v. NALTIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY, Inc., a corporation of Delaware, Defendant-Appellant, Raymond Massey, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Richard Chamberlain, Defendants.

Page 126

47 N.J. 126
219 A.2d 523
Edward A. DEVLIN and Oceanside Hospital, Inc., Plaintiffs-Respondents,
v.
NALTIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY, Inc., a corporation of
Delaware, Defendant-Appellant,
Raymond Massey, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Richard
Chamberlain, Defendants.
No. A--102.
Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Argued Feb. 23, 1966.
Decided May 2, 1966.

Page 127

[219 A.2d 524] Richard H. Thiele, Jr., Somerville, for appellant (Wharton, Stewart & Davis, Somerville, attorneys).

Harry Green, Toms River, for respondents.

PER CURIAM.

On March 31, 1965 Dr. Edward A. Devlin, a resident of Oceanside, California, and Oceanside Hospital, Inc., a California corporation operating a hospital in Oceanside, California, filed a complaint against the National Broadcasting Company in the Superior Court of California. In their complaint the plaintiffs alleged that Dr. Devlin is a physician and surgeon licensed by the State of California, as well as an attorney and counselor at law, licensed by the same State, and that the Oceanside Hospital is a licensed general medical and surgical hospital operating in Oceanside, California. They alleged further that a National Broadcasting Company's nation-wide television broadcast on April 9, 1964 had maliciously defamed them and had caused the hospital to

Page 128

lose business, good will and professional standing and Dr. Devlin to suffer emotionally and physically and to lose respect, prestige and business and professional relationships throughout the United States. Special, general and exemplary damages in the aggregate sum of $5,000,000 were sought in favor of Dr. Devlin and the hospital.

The broadcast described in the complaint was an episode in the National Broadcasting Company's weekly television series known as 'Dr. Kildare.' It was entitled 'An Ungodly Act' and the guest star was Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., portraying a character who was named Dr. Robert Devlin and who was a physician, lawyer and the operator of a small private hospital. Dr. Kildare, portrayed by Richard Chamberlain, brought a poor girl to the hospital for immediate emergency treatment, but she was not accepted and was referred to a county charity hospital. The patient died as a result of the delay. Dr. Kildare described the attitude and policies of Dr. Devlin and his hospital as 'downright criminal' and suggested neglect and malpractice. A defamation proceeding against Dr. Kildare was instituted and Dr. Devlin appeared as attorney; during the trial, Dr. Gillespie, portrayed by Raymond Massey, testified that the denial of care to the emergency patient was 'an ungodly act', thereby furnishing the title of the episode.

After the plaintiffs instituted their action in California, they filed additional defamation complaints in the States of Washington, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The New Jersey complaint was filed on April 6, 1965 in...

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8 practice notes
  • Interstate Wrecking Co. v. Palisades Interstate Park Commission
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • January 25, 1971
    ...301, 104 A.2d 670, cert. denied, 348 Page 351 U.S. 861, 75 S.Ct. 84, 99 L.Ed. 678 (1954); Cf. Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 47 N.J. 126, 129, 219 A.2d 523 The appellant points out that although it has been designated in the compact as a 'joint corporate municipal instrumentalit......
  • American Home Products Corp. v. Adriatic Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • December 11, 1995
    ...New Jersey action; noted that Pennsylvania connections to the controversy predominated); Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 128, 219 A.2d 523 (1966) (dismissed defamation action whose only connection with New Jersey arose when a program was telecast into this state). When con......
  • Aysseh v. Lawn
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • February 26, 1981
    ...of another state. Yancoskie v. Delaware River Port Auth., 78 N.J. 321, 324, 395 A.2d 192 (1978); Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 219 A.2d 523 (1966); Interstate Wrecking Co. v. Palisades Interstate Park Comm'n, 57 N.J. 342, 352, 273 A.2d 10 (1971). In such cases, as here, ......
  • Kaselaan & D'Angelo Associates, Inc. v. Soffian
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • May 16, 1996
    ...adjudicated." American Home Prods. v. Adriatic Ins., supra, 286 N.J.Super. at 33, 668 A.2d 67; accord Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 131, 219 A.2d 523 (1966). In fact, where it would be inappropriate for both cases to proceed simultaneously, "the general rule [is] that th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Interstate Wrecking Co. v. Palisades Interstate Park Commission
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • January 25, 1971
    ...301, 104 A.2d 670, cert. denied, 348 Page 351 U.S. 861, 75 S.Ct. 84, 99 L.Ed. 678 (1954); Cf. Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 47 N.J. 126, 129, 219 A.2d 523 The appellant points out that although it has been designated in the compact as a 'joint corporate municipal instrumentalit......
  • American Home Products Corp. v. Adriatic Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • December 11, 1995
    ...New Jersey action; noted that Pennsylvania connections to the controversy predominated); Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 128, 219 A.2d 523 (1966) (dismissed defamation action whose only connection with New Jersey arose when a program was telecast into this state). When con......
  • Aysseh v. Lawn
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • February 26, 1981
    ...of another state. Yancoskie v. Delaware River Port Auth., 78 N.J. 321, 324, 395 A.2d 192 (1978); Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 219 A.2d 523 (1966); Interstate Wrecking Co. v. Palisades Interstate Park Comm'n, 57 N.J. 342, 352, 273 A.2d 10 (1971). In such cases, as here, ......
  • Kaselaan & D'Angelo Associates, Inc. v. Soffian
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • May 16, 1996
    ...adjudicated." American Home Prods. v. Adriatic Ins., supra, 286 N.J.Super. at 33, 668 A.2d 67; accord Devlin v. National Broadcasting Co., 47 N.J. 126, 131, 219 A.2d 523 (1966). In fact, where it would be inappropriate for both cases to proceed simultaneously, "the general rule [is] that th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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