month. He will be 51 years old in July. Because of Mr. Schlachter's false allegations, the country will lose prematurely the services of an extremely dedicated, able, and honest officer. Major General Secord's employability in the private sector will also be adversely affected by the false allegations. Plaintiff has suffered compensatory damages through loss of opportunity for promotion to three star general and resulting pay differences.
Schlachter's allegations, broadcast on prime time national television news programs, caused Major General Secord and his family great embarrassment and strain. Reporters called him constantly through the summer of 1982; the FBI investigated him; he and his family were questioned and ridiculed by strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Major General Secord's premature retirement, loss of opportunity for promotion, resulting pay differences; and the embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, stress, and mental agony caused to Major General Secord and his family by defendant's statements entitle him to compensation in the amount of one million dollars. See Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 41 L. Ed. 2d 789, 94 S. Ct. 2997 (1974); Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130, 87 S. Ct. 1975, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1094 (1967); Waldbaum v. Fairchild Publications, Inc., 201 U.S. App. D.C. 301, 627 F.2d 1287 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 898, 66 L. Ed. 2d 128, 101 S. Ct. 266 (1980); L. Eldredge, The Law of Defamation § 95 (1978).
Schlachter made the slanderous charges knowing they were false, with the evident intent to curry favor with United States authorities before returning to his country. He is currently a participant in the Federal Witness Program of the Department of Justice. Although an Assistant United States Attorney personally delivered the amended complaint and summons to Schlachter on December 2, 1982 and plaintiff mailed a copy of the motion for entry of default judgment to the chief of the Federal Witness Protection Program, Mr. Schlachter has failed to respond in this action. In these circumstances, the Court awards Major General Secord punitive damages in the sum of one million dollars. The damage to plaintiff's reputation and curtailed military career cannot be erased by this action, but this award of punitive damages will vindicate Major General Secord and deter Mr. Schlachter or others similarly situated from issuing further deliberate lies about Major General Secord. See Davis v. Schuchat, 166 U.S. App. D.C. 351, 510 F.2d 731, 737 (D.C. Cir. 1975); Collins v. Brown, 268 F. Supp. 198, 201 (D.D.C. 1967).
An appropriate judgment accompanies this opinion.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 568 F. Supp.]
Upon consideration of plaintiff's motion under Rule 55(b) (2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for determination of the amount of damages after entry of default judgment, the entire record in this action, and after ex parte hearing on April 8, 1983, for the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum opinion, it is by the Court this 12th day of April 1983,
ORDERED that judgment by default is entered in favor of plaintiff and against defendant in the amount of one million dollars in compensatory damages and one million dollars in punitive damages; and it is further
ORDERED that this action is dismissed.
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