Question: 1 At a special meeting the board of directors of

1. At a special meeting, the board of directors of Family Federal Savings & Loan Association asked Newton, its president, manager, and director, to resign. He did so. Shortly thereafter, a reporter for the Oregon Statesman talked about Newton’s resignation with one of the directors. The very next day, the paper published an article that stated, “The board of directors of the six-branch Family Federal Savings & Loan Association has forced Thomas Newton out of his position as the association’s president, charging that he is ‘administratively incapable.’ ” Newton thereupon sued the association and its individual directors for defamation. When a jury awarded him damages, the directors appealed on the ground that the quoted language was not capable of a defamatory meaning. Will the directors succeed in overturning the judgment?
2. Rensch left two diamond rings for cleaning at Riddle’s Mall in Rapid City, South Dakota. Riddle’s had advertised free ring cleaning to the public. When Rensch returned for the rings, he found that a clerk had mistakenly given them to another customer. They were never recovered, and Rensch ultimately sued Riddle. What tort was involved in this case, and is it likely that the court will find for Rensch?
3. Robin Williams, famous entertainer and comedian, gave a performance at a San Francisco nightclub, The Great American Music Hall. As part of his comedy routine, he disparaged a particular brand of wine, Rege, by suggesting that it would be a great success if it were directed toward a particular minority group. The discussion of the wine also included certain obscene and vulgar expressions. It seemed that the Rege wine was the target of Williams’s jokes. Video and audiotapes were made of the performance and were distributed by the recording company, Polygram Records. Rege brought suit, claiming trade libel. What would be the probable outcome of this suit? Did the fact that the alleged libel took place during a comedy routine alter the case?
4. Fortrell, an aide in a child care center, was particularly concerned about the behavior of a certain child who frequently fought with and teased other children at the center. LaRena, the mother of one of the children who had been a victim of the troublesome child, was at the center one day, and Fortrell explained that the behavior of the problem child was caused by his mother, Yung, who was herself unbalanced and unit to have custody of the child. What Fortrell did not know was that LaRena was a friend of Yung and reported the conversation to her. Yung sued Fortrell, charging defamation. Will Yung succeed in a defamation suit?

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