the counterclaim "arises out of the transaction" so as to give the court jurisdiction, or (2) if not "arising out of the transaction", does the counterclaim present grounds upon which a Federal court may properly take jurisdiction and, if so, whether such counterclaim must be supported by its own independent jurisdictional basis. Finally, it cannot be said that there is a sufficiently logical relationship between the case sought to be stated here by the plaintiffs and that set up in the counterclaim by defendant Brunswick Corporation that the failure of the former will establish a foundation for the latter. See Moore v. New York Cotton Exchange, supra at 610.
Aspects of the Third Count
The Third Count of the Counterclaim sounds generally in defamation. However, I note the following pleading deficiencies:
(1) The alleged defamatory statement or statements are not alleged with sufficient particularity to enable the court to determine whether or not such statement or statements are in fact defamatory. In a defamation action, there is always a preliminary question for the trial judge to consider: Are the words reasonably capable of a defamatory meaning? If the alleged defamatory words are unambiguous and open only to a single interpretation - i.e., defamatory or non-defamatory - the Court makes a determination as a matter of law. If the alleged defamatory words are vague or ambiguous or reasonably susceptible of legally innocent as well as defamatory significance, then it is for the jury to determine as a question of fact, in the light of the circumstances disclosed by the evidence and the entire context of the alleged defamation, whether such alleged defamation was understood to be defamatory by those to whom the publication was made. Mosler v. Whelan, 28 N.J. 397, 404-405, 147 A.2d 7, 11-12 (1958); Sokolay v. Edlin, 65 N.J. Super. 112, 122, 167 A.2d 211, 216 (1961). The initial duty of the trial judge to consider the above-stated question cannot be fulfilled in this case because the alleged defamatory words have not been set forth with sufficient particularity.
(2) N.J.S.A. 2A:14-3 provides a one-year statute of limitations in regard to actions for libel or slander. This statutory provision cannot be made applicable to the Third Count of the Counterclaim for the reason that the date or dates of the alleged defamation are not set forth.
(3) The above-cited statutory provision would not, by the force of N.J.S.A. 2A:14-22, apply to plaintiffs Holiday Bowl-O-Mat (a New York corporation) and Skore Lanes Bowl-O-Mat (a Michigan corporation).
(4) Paragraph 13 of Count Three of the Counterclaim, incorporating by reference paragraph 13(h) of Count One of the Counterclaim, fails to state a cause of action.
(5) Paragraph 13 of Count Three of the Counterclaim, incorporating by reference paragraph 13(i) of Count One of the Counterclaim, fails to state a cause of action. See Rainier's Dairies v. Raritan Valley Farms, Inc., 19 N.J. 552, 117 A.2d 889 (1955); Fenning v. S. G. Holding Corp., 47 N.J. Super. 110, 135 A.2d 346 (App. Div. 1957).
(6) Paragraph 13 of Count Three of the Counterclaim, incorporating by reference paragraph 13(j) of Count One of the Counterclaim, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See (1) above and also Coleman v. Newark Morning Ledger Co., 29 N.J. 357, 375-377, 149 A.2d 193, 203 (1959).
(7) Paragraph 15 of Count Three of the Counterclaim, incorporating by reference paragraph 15 of Count One of the Counterclaim states: "The above alleged attempts to monopolize and combination and conspiracy to monopolize are continuing and will continue hereafter unless enjoined by this Court, and threatened counterclaimant with injuries and damage to its business." This allegation neither states a cause of action for defamation nor any other cause of action.
Imputations adversely affecting one in his business, trade, or profession are slanderous, and actionable upon such grounds. See Mick v. American Dental Assn., 49 N.J. Super. 262, 139 A.2d 570 (App. Div. 1958). However, such cause of action must be properly pleaded.
For the foregoing reasons, Count Three of defendant Brunswick Corporation's Counterclaim is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Present appropriate draft of order.