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EDWARD RAFFENSBERGER v. JOSEPH MORAN AND ROADWAY EXPRESS (03/28/84)

argued: March 28, 1984.

EDWARD RAFFENSBERGER, RICHARD MUSCARELLO, ARTHUR BELLAMY, THOMAS MILLARD, WARREN STANTON, RICHARD THIEME, ROBERT BASHORE, BRIAN BURGESS, MARLOWE SWANSON, JOHN DEMCHAK, NELSON HOUSER, GLENN INGERSOLL, JOSEPH GAMBUCCI, BRUCE PARENTEAU, ARTHUR GIGANTINO, LEE ESTABROOKS, CLINT ESHELMAN, PAT CONWAY, HORACE DRAKE, RALPH HARRIS, THOMAS WINSOR, HAROLD YETTER, JOHN TEETZ, JOHN NICHOLSON, JORGEN RASMUSSEN AND JOSEPH VERDIER, APPELLANTS,
v.
JOSEPH MORAN AND ROADWAY EXPRESS, INC.



No. 2716 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Monroe County, No. 1305 Civil, 1981.

COUNSEL

James V. Fareri, Stroudsburg, for appellants.

George W. Westervelt, Jr., Stroudsburg, for appellee.

Brosky, Wieand and McEwen, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 100]

In this action for libel, the trial court concluded from the pleadings, from pre-trial discovery, and from admissions and affidavits filed by the parties that the statements made by Joseph Moran and alleged to be defamatory of appellants, although capable of a defamatory meaning, were made without malice during a labor dispute. The court, therefore, granted summary judgment dismissing the action. We agree that the remarks were made during a labor dispute and were capable of a defamatory meaning. Because we conclude that the existence of malice was more properly a jury issue, however, we reverse.

On July 7, 1980, Joe Moran, a "relay manager" for Roadway Express, Inc., caused to be sent by telex*fn1 from Roadway's facility at Tannersville, Monroe County, to twenty-nine Roadway terminals in seven states the following message:

Terminal Managers cc: Wickham Hassler

Re: The Artists

Listed below are the top thirty (30) men (and I use the term loosely) who have broken down the most since the first of the year. They are the ones who are delaying your inbound or outbound. Spending the corporation's money. Do not hesitate to give these individuals my fondest regards upon their arrival at your station.

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 1011]

. Nicholson 11. Bellamy 21. Steele

2. Rasmussen 12. Ingersoll 22. Drake

3. Houser 13. Gagnon 23. Verdier

4. Bashore 14. Eshelmann ...


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