Di Blasio v. Kolodner, No. 116

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtBefore BRUNE; BRUNE
Citation233 Md. 512,197 A.2d 245
PartiesRomola DI BLASIO v. Fred KOLODNER and Frank M. Rezek.
Docket NumberNo. 116
Decision Date11 February 1964

Page 512

233 Md. 512
197 A.2d 245
Romola DI BLASIO
v.
Fred KOLODNER and Frank M. Rezek.
No. 116.
Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Feb. 11, 1964.

Page 514

[197 A.2d 246] David Kimmelman, Baltimore (William O. Goldstein, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellant.

David L. Bowers, Baltimore (S. Herbert Harris, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee Fred Kolodner.

M. King Hill, Jr., Baltimore (Smith, Somerville & Case, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee Frank M. Rezek.

Before BRUNE, C. J., and HENDERSON, PRESCOTT, HORNEY and MARBURY, JJ.

BRUNE, Chief Judge.

In this suit for libel, the plaintiff, Di Blasio, appeals from separate judgments of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County in favor of the defendants, Kolodner and Rezek. The alleged libel was contained in a declaration filed in a prior suit (sometimes referred to below as the 'original suit' or the 'criminal conversation' or 'crim. con.' suit) brought by Rezek, through his attorney, Kolodner, against Di Blasio. Both judgments in the libel suit were based upon the privileged character of the publication--that in favor of Kolodner, the attorney, being entered after his demurrer had been sustained, and that in favor of Rezek, the client, being entered upon his motion for summary judgment. The pleadings in the original suit have been incorporated in the record in this case, and a brief statement with regard to that suit is necessary to the consideration of the instant case.

Page 515

The original suit by Rezek against Di Blasio, filed on July 27, 1961, contained three counts. Each of them contained an allegation that the defendant, Di Blasio, debauched and carnally knew the wife of Rezek, the plaintiff, and caused her to become pregnant. The first count was limited to such an allegation. The second count alleged Di Blasio's debauching and carnal knowledge of Rezek's wife with intent to injure Rezek and to deprive him of the society and assistance of his wife and to alienate and destroy her affection for him, that such results had followed, and that Di Blasio had caused Rezek's wife to become pregnant. The third count alleged that by 'wrongful and wicked enticements, allurements and persuasions' Di Blasio had alienated the affections of Rezek's wife, that he had 'wrongfully and maliciously' induced her to abandon Rezek's home for short periods of time, and that she was pregnant as a result of Di Blasio's debauching and carnally knowing her.

The defendant in the original suit (Di Blasio) first filed the general issue plea in September, 1961, and on December 29, 1961, he filed a motion for summary judgment. The grounds therefor here pertinent were in substance that the declaration on its face showed the suit to be for alienation of affections, that such a cause of action had been abolished by Art. 75C of the Code, 1 and that the declaration was in violation of that Article. Rezek's answer to this motion was to the effect that the declaration stated a cause of action for criminal conversation and that such cause of action had not been abolished. Judge Menchine, of the Circuit Court, held that the torts of alienation of affections and of criminal conversation were separate wrongs and that a cause of action [197 A.2d 247] for the latter had not been abolished. He noted, however, that the declaration was 'replete with language alleging alienation of affections, subject

Page 516

matter now forbidden as a cause of action, which allegations are unnecessary, impertinent, scandalous, irrelevant and improper within the meaning of Rule 301(i).' Pursuant to that Rule, the court on its own initiative ordered the plaintiff, Rezek, to file an amended declaration limited specifically to criminal conversation. This Rezek proceeded to do on May 24, 1962. He filed a second amended declaration on September 5, 1962, after a demurrer to the first amended declaration had been sustained (apparently on a ground not here important). Without reviewing in detail the subsequent pleadings, we note that a motion to dismiss filed by Di Blasio on October 4, 1962, was overruled by Judge Lindsay on October 18, 1962. At the time when this case came to us the original suit was still open on Rezek's claim for criminal conversation.

In the instant suit for libel which is based upon allegations contained in the original declaration filed in the criminal conversation case, the issue which we regard as controlling, as did Judge Menchine, is that of privilege. There were other issues in the trial court, and one of them--whether the suit is premature--is also sought to be raised here by the appellees. We find it unnecessary to pass upon any of those other issues. We shall assume, as did the trial court, that all of the allegations complained of were libelous, and we shall assume without deciding (the trial court so held) that this suit is not premature. No question of limitations is raised on appeal, and therefore none is before us. (Rezek did originally raise such a question in the trial court; Kolodner did not.) Likewise, no challenge to the validity of the statute is here involved and we express no opinion with regard thereto. Cf. the similar comment in Babb v. Bolyard, 194 Md. 603, at 608, 72 A.2d 13, a case which did not involve this statute and which seems to be the only prior case in this Court to mention it. For the purposes of this case, we shall assume its validity. 2

Because it is the most sweeping, we shall consider first the

Page 517

appellant's contention that actions for criminal conversation as well as for breach of promise have been abolished by Ch. 1010 of the Acts of 1945, now incorporated in Art. 75C of the Code, 1957 Ed., as now amended. These are §§ 1-6 and §§ 8-9, both inclusive (see note 1, supra), and they are collectively referred to herein as Art. 75C. Section 1 of that Article recites abuses to which remedies for breach of promise to marry and for alienation of affections have been subjected, state that they have in many cases resulted in a perpetration of fraud, and declares 'as the public policy of the State that the best interests of the people of the State will be served by the abolition of such remedies.'

§§ 2, 4 and 5 of Art. 75C provide as follows:

(§ 2) 'The rights of action heretofore existing to recover sums of money as damages for breach of promise to marry, excepting in cases wherein pregnancy exists, and for the alienation of affections are hereby abolished.'

(§ 4) 'No act hereafter done within this State shall operate to give rise, either within or without this State, to any of the rights of action abolished by this article.'

(§ 5) 'It shall hereafter be unlawful for any person, either as a party or attorney, * * * to file or serve, [or] cause to be filed or served * * * any process or pleading, in any court of [197 A.2d 248] the State, setting forth or seeking to recover a sum of money upon any cause of action obolished or barred by this article, * * *.'

§ 8 of the same Article makes a violation of any provision of the Article a misdemeanor subject to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, or imprisonment of one to five years, or both. § 9 directs that the Article 'shall be liberally construed to effectuate the objects and purposes thereof and the public policy of the State as hereby declared.' Then follows a separability clause.

Alienation of affections and criminal conversation are two different torts, though they may often be rather closely related. Restatement, Torts, Vol. 3, §§ 683, 685; Callis v. Merrieweather,

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98 Md. 361, 57 A. 201; Hillers v. Taylor, 108 Md. 148, 69 A. 715 (close relationship as to damages); Annarina v. Boland, 136 Md. 365, 111 A. 84; Tinker v. Colwell, 193 U.S. 473, 24 S.Ct. 505, 48 L.Ed. 754; Antonelli v. Xenakis, 363 Pa. 375, 69 A.2d 102. Cf. Prosser, Torts (2nd Ed.), § 103, p. 686, where the author argues that although actions for criminal conversation, enticement and...

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41 practice notes
  • Myers v. Town of Colmar Manor, Civil No. PJM 18-1934
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • May 1, 2020
    ...purpose or motive of the defendant, or the reasonableness of his conduct." Gohari , 767 A.2d at 327, n.13 (citing Di Blasio v. Kolodner , 233 Md. 512, 197 A.2d 245, 250 (1964) ); see also Mandel v. O'Hara , 320 Md. 103, 576 A.2d 766 (1990) ("An absolute immunity from tort liability ‘stands ......
  • Smith v. Danielczyk, No. 133, Sept. Term, 2006.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 25, 2007
    ...it would be helpful at the outset to define and distinguish these two kinds of privileges, or immunities. In Di Blasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 522, 197 A.2d 245, (1964), we "An absolute privilege is distinguished from a qualified privilege in that the former provides immunity regardless o......
  • Reichardt v. Flynn, No. 42
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 8, 2003
    ...14 A. at 511, but also to such statements published in documents which have been filed in a judicial proceeding. DiBlasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 520-23, 197 A.2d 245, 250-51 (1964) (declaration in prior suit); Bartlett v. Christhilf, 69 Md. 219, 227, 14 A. 518, 520 (1888) (petition); Ker......
  • Gohari v. Darvish, No. 25
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 23, 2001
    ...of his conduct, while the latter is conditioned upon the absence of malice and is forfeited if it is abused." Di Blasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 522, 197 A.2d 245, 250 (1964) (citing Carr v. Watkins, 227 Md. 578, 177 A.2d 841 14. This treatise is the direct lineal descendant of W. PAGE KEE......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Myers v. Town of Colmar Manor, Civil No. PJM 18-1934
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • May 1, 2020
    ...purpose or motive of the defendant, or the reasonableness of his conduct." Gohari , 767 A.2d at 327, n.13 (citing Di Blasio v. Kolodner , 233 Md. 512, 197 A.2d 245, 250 (1964) ); see also Mandel v. O'Hara , 320 Md. 103, 576 A.2d 766 (1990) ("An absolute immunity from tort liability ‘stands ......
  • Smith v. Danielczyk, No. 133, Sept. Term, 2006.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 25, 2007
    ...it would be helpful at the outset to define and distinguish these two kinds of privileges, or immunities. In Di Blasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 522, 197 A.2d 245, (1964), we "An absolute privilege is distinguished from a qualified privilege in that the former provides immunity regardless o......
  • Reichardt v. Flynn, No. 42
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • May 8, 2003
    ...14 A. at 511, but also to such statements published in documents which have been filed in a judicial proceeding. DiBlasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 520-23, 197 A.2d 245, 250-51 (1964) (declaration in prior suit); Bartlett v. Christhilf, 69 Md. 219, 227, 14 A. 518, 520 (1888) (petition); Ker......
  • Gohari v. Darvish, No. 25
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 23, 2001
    ...of his conduct, while the latter is conditioned upon the absence of malice and is forfeited if it is abused." Di Blasio v. Kolodner, 233 Md. 512, 522, 197 A.2d 245, 250 (1964) (citing Carr v. Watkins, 227 Md. 578, 177 A.2d 841 14. This treatise is the direct lineal descendant of W. PAGE KEE......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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