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Barres v. Holt

Decided: October 17, 1977.

ANTHONY BARRES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
HOLT, RINEHART AND WINSTON, INC., A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 141 N.J. Super. 563 (1976).

For affirmance -- Justices Mountain, Sullivan, Pashman, Clifford and Handler. For reversal -- Chief Justice Hughes and Justice Schreiber. Schreiber, J., dissenting. Chief Justice Hughes joins in this opinion.

Per Curiam

The judgment is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in the opinion of the Appellate Division.

SCHREIBER, J., dissenting. I cannot agree with the proposition that the equitable doctrine of prevention of a multiplicity of actions should operate to destroy the plaintiff's cause of action for libel. Nor can I agree with the proposition that the one year statute of limitations for libel should bar an action where more than 1800 copies of the libel had been distributed by the defendant within one year of the institution of the suit. Yet, the principle adopted by the majority countenances these results.

The detailed undisputed facts, resolved on a motion for summary judgment, are set forth in the trial court's opinion. 131 N.J. Super. 371 (1974). For purposes of this discussion it is proper to assume (the matter having been

resolved on motion for summary judgment) that the defendant Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. published a book entitled No Cause For Indictment in which the plaintiff was libeled. The defendant had had 6000 copies of the book printed in the Summer of 1971. The following events then occurred:

October 19, 1971 Defendant sent copies of the book to review-

ers;

November 15, 1971 Defendant released the book to the trade;

January 21, 1972 Defendant advertised the book in the New

York Times;

February 1972 Defendant, because of lack of sales, substi-

tuted paper covers for hard covers on the

2500 copies;

August 1973 Defendant sold approximately 1857 hard

cover copies at 40 cents per copy (the

regular wholesale price had been ...


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