Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., No. 52531

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtBefore PATTERSON; WALKER; PATTERSON
Citation397 So.2d 1109
Docket NumberNo. 52531
Decision Date29 April 1981
PartiesR. L. NETTERVILLE v. LEAR SIEGLER, INC., et al.

Page 1109

397 So.2d 1109
R. L. NETTERVILLE
v.
LEAR SIEGLER, INC., et al.
No. 52531.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
April 29, 1981.
Rehearing Denied May 27, 1981.

Page 1110

Robert L. Netterville, Natchez, for appellant.

Everette Truly, Adams, Forman, Truly, Ward, Smith & Bramlette, Natchez, for appellees.

Before PATTERSON, C. J., and SUGG and WALKER, JJ.

WALKER, Justice, for the Court:

This cause is on appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, Mississippi, which sustained a general demurrer to appellant R. L. Netterville's declaration charging libel and slander, invasion of privacy, and abuse of process against Lear Siegler, Inc., its attorney Mr. Charles W. Stoll of Hollywood, California, and others. The declaration alleges that the appellees filed a complaint against the appellant with the Mississippi State Bar Association criticizing certain actions of appellant in his representation of a widow and four children for the death of their husband and father in a products liability case. Mr. Netterville contends that the complaint filed against him was without merit, was malicious and was done for the sole purpose of enhancing Lear Siegler's defense and position in the products liability case. He contends that the defendants used the bar complaint for an illegal purpose and design as set forth in Count I, Paragraph 12 of the declaration which states:

That said acts were a means to use criminal process in order for the said defendants 'to accomplish an ulterior purpose for which it was not designed.' ... That said acts on the part of the defendants herein, both in concert and in conspiracy, were a form of extortion in which a lawfully used process was perverted to an unlawful use.... That none of the acts complained of herein on the part of said defendants were made in good faith, but were all done with an ulterior motive so as to prevent the said R. L. Netterville from progressing in a tort action against the said defendants.

Page 1111

The alleged slanderous, malicious and willful conduct of the defendants is set forth in Exhibit "A" to the declaration, being letters dated May 4, 1979 and May 11, 1979.

The letter of May 4, 1979, was addressed to G. Stuart Handy, Esquire of Handy, Fitzpatrick, Gwin, Blough & Lewis, Attorneys at Law, P. O. Box 1344, Natchez, MS. 39120. In that letter Mr. Stoll inquired of Mr. Handy, who was co-counsel with Mr. Stoll, information about the proper Mississippi procedure for filing a formal complaint against Mr. Netterville "for his directly contacting Mr. Griffiths and attempting to contact Mr. Mugler, who (he alleged) are officers and employees of Royal Industries, Inc., our client, without receiving the express consent of either you or I before making such direct contact." The letter further complained that "... it is apparent that Mr. Netterville taped his conversation with Mr. Griffiths, as evidenced by the transcript attached to his letter of April 23, 1979. He at no point advised Mr. Griffiths that this conversation was being taped and did not initially identify himself as an attorney representing a party adverse to the Hutchinson Division of Royal Industries, Inc. ..."

The letter of May 11, 1979, was addressed to the Mississippi State Bar, 101 Realtors Building, 620 North State Street, Jackson, MS. 39201, and directed to the attention of Chairman, Complaints Committee. That letter contained basically the same complaints, hereinabove quoted, made to Mr. Handy. The letter concluded with the statement, "If, ... the conduct described above is prohibited by the Mississippi Bar, I will wish to file a formal complaint and would appreciate your advice."

Mr. Stoll subsequently filed the following complaint with the Mississippi State Bar:

I, Charles W. Stoll, do hereby file with the Mississippi State Bar, a complaint against Mr. Robert L. Netterville, Natchez Office Bldg., Natchez, MS. 39120.

The facts of my complaint are: As set forth in my letter of May 11, 1979 addressed to the Mississippi State Bar, including attachments thereto.

The facts in this complaint are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

This complaint was duly executed and sworn to as prescribed by law.

Mr. Stoll's complaint was duly filed, investigated and prosecuted according to the procedures set out in Mississippi Code Annotated sections 73-3-313 et seq. (Supp.1980) and the rules and regulations formulated by the Committee on Complaints. Upon a final adjudication of that matter, this Court held, among other things, that the complaint filed by Mr. Stoll against Mr. Netterville was wholly without merit or justification and ordered same dismissed.

In Count II, Paragraph 13 of his declaration out of which the present appeal arose, Mr. Netterville states:

That on or prior to May 11, 1979, the said defendants in contriving and wickedly and maliciously intending to injure plaintiff did falsely, wickedly, and maliciously and intentionally and willfully print, publish and did cause to be circulated around the State of Mississippi the words that disbarment...

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12 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...v. Drake, 250 Kan. 645,830 P.2d 23 (1992); Kerpelman v. Bricker, 23 Md. App. 628, 329 A.2d 423 (1974); Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss. 1981); Sinnett v. Albert, 188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...v. Drake, 250 Kan. 645,830 P.2d 23 (1992); Kerpelman v. Bricker, 23 Md. App. 628, 329 A.2d 423 (1974); Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss. 1981); Sinnett v. Albert, 188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540......
  • Crump v. Beckley Newspapers, Inc., No. 15804
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 10, 1983
    ...(Second) of Torts §§ 652F and 652G (1977); Bond v. Pecaut, 561 F.Supp. 1037 (N.D.Ill.1983); Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss.1981); McCall v. Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co., 623 S.W.2d 882 (Ky.1981); Dijkstra v. Westerink, 168 N.J.Super. 128, 401 A.2d 1118 (......
  • Pope v. Mississippi Real Estate Com'n, Civ. A. No. EC 84-265-D-D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • April 5, 1988
    ...59 The statements attributed to Hardwick are privileged if they occurred in a judicial context. See Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109, 1113 60 The plaintiffs have also failed to set forth specific evidence to establish that the government's own actions injured the plaintiffs......
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10 cases
  • Crump v. Beckley Newspapers, Inc., No. 15804
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 10, 1983
    ...(Second) of Torts §§ 652F and 652G (1977); Bond v. Pecaut, 561 F.Supp. 1037 (N.D.Ill.1983); Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss.1981); McCall v. Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co., 623 S.W.2d 882 (Ky.1981); Dijkstra v. Westerink, 168 N.J.Super. 128, 401 A.2d 1118 (......
  • Pope v. Mississippi Real Estate Com'n, Civ. A. No. EC 84-265-D-D.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • April 5, 1988
    ...59 The statements attributed to Hardwick are privileged if they occurred in a judicial context. See Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109, 1113 60 The plaintiffs have also failed to set forth specific evidence to establish that the government's own actions injured the plaintiffs......
  • D.A.R. v. R.E.L., 1151080
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 7, 2018
    ...Kamaka v. Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel, 117 Haw. 92, 105-06, 176 P.3d 91, 104-05 (2008) ; Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109, 1113 (Miss. 1981) ; see also Caffey v. Alabama Supreme Court, 469 F. App'x 748, 752 (11th Cir. 2012) (not selected for publication in the Federal ......
  • Field v. Kearns, No. 14689
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • November 7, 1996
    ...jurisdictions have cloaked bar grievants with absolute immunity for the filing of a grievance. In R.L. Netterville v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109, 1113 (Miss.1981), the Mississippi Supreme Court held that any person who files a complaint in accordance with the Mississippi disciplinar......
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