and again the financial report of plaintiff corporation showed that current liabilities exceeded current assets by the end of 1962.
The decline in plaintiff's gross sales for 1963, after the publication of the alleged defamatory statement, follows the same path of decline as is exhibited in the prior three years. The loss of profit for the year 1963 following the alleged defamation, while considerably greater than the losses of the prior two years, has no probative value in view of the evidence of the continuous worsening condition of plaintiff corporation from 1960 on. The evidence does not show that the business has been conducted at a profit for a sufficient length of time and with such an established trade that profits could be reasonably ascertainable. 15 Am.Jur. Damages § 157.
Plaintiff's evidence also fails to establish a causal relationship between the credit report and any ensuing damages. The credit report in question was published on January 9, 1963, and plaintiff only became aware of it on April 11, 1963 by reason of a call from an irate creditor who interpreted the report to mean that plaintiff had mortgaged assets or real estate to secure a loan to finance accounts payable. This creditor testified that he had suggested such a course of action to plaintiff's president and plaintiff's president had stated that he had no assets which he could use as collateral. The irate creditor felt that he had been deceived and that plaintiff corporation had secured such a loan on its property and had paid other creditors but had failed to pay him. Even after the complete truth was made known to this creditor he still insisted upon arrangements to bring his account up to date by cash and notes, and thereafter imposed stricter credit terms. Plaintiff testified that other creditors in the months following the alleged defamatory report were pressing him and were restricting his credit terms and insisting upon payment of overdue accounts, but nowhere does it appear from any testimony that because of the report any single supplier cut off or curtailed plaintiff's credit. No single credit manager of plaintiff's supplying companies appeared to testify that this had been the result. Furthermore, there was no legally sufficient evidence to prove that any such credit restrictions resulted in any specific loss of sales which plaintiff might otherwise have made. While plaintiff's president and other witnesses testified that delivery of bricks to plaintiff's trucks at the supplier's plants was refused in some instances it was never shown that such refusal was directly related to the erroneous credit report.
As to the business which plaintiff's president testified he might otherwise have received, his testimony amounts to a failure on his part to submit bids for certain contracts to be awarded which he thought he might obtain because of prior business relationships. No specific figures as to the identity, size or amount of such prospective purchases, the prospective profit thereon, or other matters which would reduce such lost prospects to damages capable of computation were produced by plaintiff.
Plaintiff's cause of action falls within the following class:
"Restatement of the Law, Vol. III, Torts.