Mell v. Edge

Decision Date12 November 1942
Docket Number29805.
Citation22 S.E.2d 738,68 Ga.App. 314
PartiesMELL v. EDGE.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Homer A. Glore and Louis M. Tatham, both of Atlanta, for plaintiff in error.

Joe M. Lang, of Calhoun, and Victor K. Meador, of Atlanta, for defendant in error.


1. Words to be actionable per se, as tending to injure one in his trade, profession, or business, must contain a charge in reference to such. Code, § 105-702; Van Epps v Jones, 50 Ga. 238; Witham v. Atlanta Journal, 124 Ga. 688, 691, 53 S.E. 105, 4 L.R.A.,N.S., 977.

2. "As respects a charge of failure to pay debts, without any imputation of insolvency, it seems to be settled that a writing containing the mere statement that a person who is not a trader or merchant, or engaged in any vocation wherein credit is necessary for the proper and effectual conduct of his business, owes a debt and refuses to pay, or owes a debt which is long past due, is not libelous per se and does not render the author or publisher of such statement liable without proof of special damages." 33 Am.Jur. 78, § 60. See, also, Estes v. Sterchi Brothers Stores, Inc., 50 Ga.App. 619, 179 S.E. 222.

3. "The special damages necessary to support an action for defamation, where the words are not actionable in themselves must be the loss of money, or of some other material temporal advantage capable of being assessed in monetary value. [Citing.] The loss of a marriage, of employment, of income, of profits, and even of gratuitous entertainment and hospitality will be special damage if the plaintiff can show that it was caused by the defendant's words; but not mere annoyance or loss of peace of mind, nor even physical illness occasioned by the defamatory charge." Odgers on Libel & Slander, 5th ed., 378.

4. "In an action for libel, where the alleged defamatory words are as a matter of law not actionable per se, and where the petition does not set out any proper or legitimate item of special damage, and where it fails to allege by way of innuendo that the words complained of 'convey a covert meaning, wholly different from the ordinary and natural interpretation usually put upon them,' and that the author of the libel intended them to be understood in their covert sense, and that they were in fact so understood by those who read them, the petition does not set out a cause of action and should be dismissed on general demurrer." Anderson v. Kennedy, 47...

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  • Curtis Publishing Company v. Butts
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • October 1, 1965
    ...Curtis cites — Weatherholt v. Howard, 143 Ga. 41, 84 S.E. 119 (1915); Van Epps v. Jones, 50 Ga. 238 (1873); Mell v. Edge, 68 Ga.App. 314, 22 S.E.2d 738 (1942); Haggard v. Shaw, 100 Ga.App. 813, 112 S.E.2d 286 (1959); and Estes v. Sterchi Bros. Stores, 50 Ga.App. 619, 179 S.E. 222 (1935). Th......
  • Hood v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • October 31, 1973
    ...specifically allege, F.R.Civ.P. 9(g), and prove special damages where the defamatory statement is not libel per se. Mell v. Edge, 68 Ga.App. 314, 22 S.E.2d 738, 739 (1942). Special damages are those damages that "actually flowed from the act." Ga.Code Ann. § 105-2006 (1935). More specifical......
  • Signal Oil & Gas Co. v. Conway, 47018
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • June 19, 1972
    ...physical illness caused by the alleged defamation is not enough to make it so. Odgers on Libel and Slander, 5th Ed. 378; Mell v. Edge, 68 Ga.App. 314(3), 22 S.E.2d 738. In Mell the charge that a letter concerning an indebtedness written to a Congressman, who was in position to cause plainti......
  • Davita v. Nephrology Associates, P.C.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Georgia
    • March 25, 2003
    ...Epps v. Jones, 50 Ga. 238, 241 (1873); see also Sherwood v. Boshears, 157 Ga. App. 542, 543, 278 S.E.2d 124 (1981); Mell v. Edge, 68 Ga.App. 314, 314, 22 S.E.2d 738 (1942) ("Words to be actionable per se, as tending to injure one in his trade, profession, or business, must contain a charge ......
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