Not what you're
looking for? Try an advanced search.
Buy This Entire Record For
MARGOLES v. JOHNS
November 18, 1971
Milton MARGOLES, Plaintiff,
Alida JOHNS and The Journal Company, Journal Square, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Defendants
John H. Pratt, District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT
JOHN H. PRATT, District Judge.
This is an action for slander in which the plaintiff, a physician and a resident of Illinois, alleges that defendant Johns, a newspaper reporter for the Milwaukee Sentinel and a resident of Wisconsin, made defamatory statements in two telephone calls from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the District of Columbia. Specifically, the complaint alleges that in the courts of an August 20, 1970 telephone conversation, Miss Johns stated that the plaintiff was guilty of "abortion charges," ran a "house of ill-fame," and was "unfit for help by decent people;" and that in a subsequent telephone conversation on September 2, 1970, Miss Johns declared that plaintiff ran an "abortion mill" in Wisconsin and that "all the women who went there came out with hysterectomies." Miss Johns' employer, the Journal Company, which publishes the Milwaukee Sentinel, is named as a co-defendant pursuant to plaintiff's allegation that Miss Johns' telephone calls were on behalf of the Journal Company and were within the scope of her employment.
This matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, lack of service of process and improper venue. Since the Court bases its ruling on the jurisdictional issue, the question of venue need not be considered.
II. JURISDICTION -- THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S LONG-ARM STATUTE.
Although plaintiff might have asserted federal jurisdiction on the grounds of diversity under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, he chose to avoid such jurisdiction and to rest his complaint solely on local jurisdiction.
When queried by the Court during the oral argument, plaintiff's counsel insisted that the action was brought locally and declined to assert federal jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court entertains this action pursuant to D.C. Code § 11-501 (Supp. IV, 1971) and treats the jurisdictional issue under D.C. Code § 13-423 (Supp. IV, 1971), a provision of the recently enacted long-arm statute of the District of Columbia.
Our long-arm statute enumerates six bases for personal jurisdiction over non-residents based on conduct. Although some form of tort action might conceivably arise under another subsection, only two subsections, (3) and (4), specifically deal with tortious injury. The applicable portions of the statute are set out below:
§ 13-423 Personal Jurisdiction Based Upon Conduct
(a) A District of Columbia court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a claim for relief arising from the person's --
(3) causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or omission in the District of Columbia;
(4) causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or omission outside the District of Columbia if he regularly does or solicits business, engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used ...
Buy This Entire Record For