Appeal, No. 304, Jan. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1958, No. 2109, in case of John H. Farrell v. Triangle Publications, Inc. Judgment reversed.
James Francis Lawler, for appellant.
Harold E. Kohn, with him Louis G. Hill, and Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Kohn & Dilks, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES.
On January 29, 1958, The Inquirer, Philadelphia's morning newspaper of wide circulation, published the following under the headline "$900,000 TRASH DEAL 'SPLIT' FOR COMMISSIONERS PROBED":
"The Delaware county District Attorney's office yesterday began investigating a report that a $900,000 slice of the canceled $1,600,000 Upper Darby incinerator deal was earmarked for division among a number of township commissioners and others.
"This startling development arose on the eve of the opening today of the Delaware county grand jury investigation into the abortive deal that was quickly dropped after an expose by the Inquirer. Investigators studying the report of the $900,000 jackpot declined to elaborate, but it was learned they would question the 13 commissioners, former office holders....
"The report stemmed from a conversation at an Upper Darby social event in which an attorney heard
the 'jackpot' story from a relative of one of the principals in the scandal. The lawyer turned over the information to J. Harold Hughes and Clifton J. McGovern, assistant district attorneys conducting the grand jury investigation. Investigators said the story came from a respected attorney.
"After hearing the story, the attorney told his informant he felt obliged to take it to the District Attorney. The informant reportedly agreed. The informant's identity was not disclosed but it was ...