indication here that there is any defect in proof which could be remedied, or that needed evidence was excluded, which would cause a jury to find actual damages. Also, in the apparent belief that the jury's verdict was legally permissible, defendants have not filed a motion for a new trial.
Under the circumstances, plaintiffs should not be awarded judgment n.o.v. The jury's verdict indicates that a right of Hoffman's has been invaded. In the absence of proof of 'real, special, or other compensatory items of damages. * * * (Hoffman's) recovery for the * * * interference with (his) right * * * must be limited to a vindication by an award of nominal damages. * * * Nominal damages represent the award of a trifling sum where there has been a breach of duty or infraction or invasion of a right, but no real, substantial or serious loss or injury has been established.' Stevenson v. Economy Bank of Ambridge, 1964, 413 Pa. 442, 197 A.2d 721. In R & B Electric Co. v. Leventry, 1931, 102 Pa.Super. 353, 156 A. 581, the court pointed out that even where the evidence would have sustained either a finding that damages had, or had not been, suffered, and the jury found that a right of plaintiff had been invaded, but that no damages were suffered, since the legal wrong had been established, plaintiff was entitled to nominal damages.
In their brief plaintiffs point to 7 P.L.E. Conspiracy, § 1, at p. 138, that 'Unless actual damage has resulted from something done by one or more of the conspirators in furtherance of the object of the conspiracy, no civil action lies against anyone for conspiracy. * * *' The cases cited in support of this statement do not support the fact that 'damage' as distinguished from 'injury' must be shown before a civil action for conspiracy will lie. Most of the cases involved a tort which could have been committed either by one person or by several with the result that if the conspiracy or combination had not been proved, but one person had committed the tort, there would be recovery against that person. In Rundell v. Kalbfus, 1889, 125 Pa. 123, 17 A. 238, there was no mention of a showing of actual 'damage' as a basis for a cause of action. The court stated that in a civil case the 'mere combination injures no one, and, unless there is something done in pursuance thereof I apprehend no action (will) lie.' That 'something' does not refer to the need for actual damages, but rather to the need for an overt act which would inflict a legal 'injury,' and not necessarily actual damage.
The concept of a legal 'injury' as opposed to 'damage' as a basis for a conspiracy action is borne out by the language of more recent Pennsylvania cases. In Helmig v. Rockwell Mfg. Co., 1957, 389 Pa. 21, at p. 35, 131 A.2d 622, at p. 625, it is stated, 'A conspiracy is actionable only when it produces an overt act which injures the complaining party * * *' and in Vant v. Gish, 1963, 412 Pa. 359, at pp. 365-366, 194 A.2d 522, at p. 526, citing, as plaintiffs did, 7 P.L.E. 1, '* * * a conspiracy is actionable only when there is injury to the complainant * * *'. Injury is the violation of a legal right. Keogh v. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co., 1922, 260 U.S. 156, 163, 43 S. Ct. 47, 67 L. Ed. 183; Duggan v. Baltimore & O. R.R., 1893, 159 Pa. 248, 28 A. 182, 186. Stevenson v. Economy Bank of Ambridge, supra. Damage is that which flows from such violation. There was sufficient evidence from which the jury could infer existence of a conspiracy, and overt acts pursuant thereto which resulted in a violation of Hoffman's right not to be injured in his reputation, avocation, and calling. Aside from the above cited cases which require a showing of injury, not damage, to sustain an action for conspiracy, there is no reason in a tort action such as this to deprive a suitor of vindication for the violation of his right through an award of nominal damages. See Stevenson v. Economy Bank of Ambridge, supra.
At oral argument plaintiffs abandoned their alternate motion for a new trial on the counterclaim.
The motions of plaintiffs for a new trial and for judgment n.o.v. will be denied. The judgment in favor of Hoffman will be vacated with direction that judgment be entered in favor of Hoffman and against Joseph Weider and Mr. America Publishing Co., Inc. for $ 1.00 nominal damages. Stevenson v. Economy Bank of Ambridge, supra.