MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff brought this suit for defamation against defendants Whitmoyer Laboratories, Inc., Rohm and Haas and William P. Ambrogi. A jury trial commenced on March 28, 1977. After the plaintiff advised the Court that plaintiff had concluded the presentation of evidence as to liability, the defendant moved for a directed verdict pursuant to Rule 50. The parties argued the Rule 50 motion and the Court granted the defendant's motion for a directed verdict. This memorandum is intended to set forth the grounds upon which the Court directed a verdict for defendant.
Viewing the evidence and the inferences therefrom in a light most favorable to plaintiff, the evidence can be summarized as follows: In December 1970, plaintiff became the general manager of Affiliated Laboratories, a division of Whitmoyer Laboratories, which is a subsidiary of Rohm and Haas, defendants herein. As general manager, plaintiff was directly responsible to William Ambrogi, the President of Whitmoyer, to whom he wrote weekly and monthly reports and had frequent phone conversations and personal meetings. Plaintiff testified that during his nine months of employment he was able to improve numerous management and production problems with which he was confronted on his arrival. He also testified that during his period of employment problems developed with the research department, headed by Dr. Stuart. He testified that Dr. Stuart threatened to have him fired and went over his head to speak to Mr. Ambrogi concerning their conflict. Plaintiff was terminated by Mr. Ambrogi in September, 1971, at which time Mr. Ambrogi told him that his inability to handle professional people was the reason for his discharge.
After his discharge by the defendants in September of 1971 the plaintiff has had several positions, none of which have been directly related to animal health products, the field in which he had been employed by the defendants. The plaintiff is presently a licensed commodities broker in Oklahoma.
In the early part of 1974, the plaintiff contacted Dr. Edmonds, a friend who was interested in forming a drug company. Dr. Edmonds testified that he had the plaintiff in mind to run the drug company and asked the plaintiff for a list of his previous employers. In checking plaintiff's references, Dr. Edmonds sent a form entitled "Confidential Management Personnel Record" to Mr. Ambrogi, President of Whitmoyer Laboratories. This form, as completed by Mr. Ambrogi, is the basis of plaintiff's claim for defamation. The form requests answers to specific questions and the addition of any pertinent remarks. Mr. Ambrogi was asked to grade plaintiff as to seven "management characteristics". Five of these Mr. Ambrogi assessed as "good", one as "fair" and one as "poor". He characterized the plaintiff's attitude as both "arrogant" and "cooperative". The form also requested that he rate the plaintiff on five "personal traits". Mr. Ambrogi checked "excellent" for "willingness to work", and "poor" for "honesty", "integrity", "personality" and "moral character". On the reverse side Mr. Ambrogi wrote:
Dr. Zuschek is an intelligent and hard working individual with driving ambition and goal orientation. However, as a manager he is very dictatorial, quite devious and often demoralizing. With close supervision, he can be very effective, but left alone, very destructive.