Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dyer v. MacDougall case brief

Dyer v. MacDougall case brief summary
201 F.2d 265 (2d Cir. 1952)

Plaintiff appealed a judgment of a United States district court that granted summary judgment in favor of defendants and dismissed two counts of plaintiff's action that alleged libel and slander.

Plaintiff sued defendants for libel and slander. Defendants submitted affidavits in which they denied the utterance of the slanders attributed to them. The trial court gave plaintiff the opportunity to depose defendants; however, plaintiff chose not to do so. The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the slander counts. On reargument, the court again decided that the slander counts should be dismissed.

The court held that summary judgment was proper because defendants proved that plaintiff would not have enough evidence to go to the jury on the issue of slander.


  • Plaintiff's wife's affidavit was not admissible because it contained hearsay, and the excited utterance exception did not apply because the interval between the alleged exciting event and utterance could have been as long as two months. 
  • Plaintiff's only other witnesses by whom he could prove slander were defendants, who would deny the slanders were uttered.
The district court's judgment granting summary judgment in favor of defendants on the slander counts were affirmed because defendants proved that plaintiff did not have enough evidence to raise a genuine issue of fact regarding the slander issue.

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