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Brief for Respondent

Questions Presented

1. Does a newspaper corporation have a constitutionally guaranteed absolute privilege to defame an elected city official in a paid newspaper advertisement so that the corporation is immune from a private common law libel judgment in a state court in circumstances where, because of the admitted falsity of the publication, the newspaper is unable to plead or prove state afforded defenses of truth, fair comment, privilege or retraction (to show good faith and eliminate punitive damages), and where the corporation has retracted the same false material for another admittedly "on a par" with the city official?

2. When the only claimed invasion of a corporation's constitutional rights is that a city official successfully sued it for damages in a private civil action for libel in a state court in circumstances described in Question 1, and when the corporation does not contend that the state trial proceedings have been unfair, has there been an abridgement of the corporation's constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments?

3. Are libelous utterances in a paid newspaper advertisement within the area of constitutionally protected speech and press?

4. When an admittedly false newspaper advertisement published in circumstances described in Question 1 charges that city police massively engaged in rampant, vicious, terroristic and criminal actions in deprivation of rights of others, is a state court holding in a private common law libel action that such an utterance is libelous as a matter of state law—leaving to the jury the questions of publication, identification with the police commissioner, and damages—an infringement of the newspaper's constitutional rights?

5. When a paid newspaper advertisement published in circumstances described in Question 1 contains admittedly false charges described in Question 4 about police action in a named city, may this Court consistently with its decisions and the Seventh Amendment review on certiorari a state jury finding, in a trial concededly fair, that the publication is "of and concerning" the city police commissioner whose name does not appear in the publication, and an award of general and punitive damages to him, when this state jury verdict embodied in a final state judgment has been approved by the state's highest appellate court?

6. May this Court consistently with its decisions and the Seventh Amendment re-examine facts tried by a state jury in a trial concededly fair, when those findings have been embodied in a final state judgment affirmed by the highest state appellate court, and when review is sought on assertions that the verdict is wrong and the general and punitive libel damages merely excessive?

7. When a foreign corporation makes a general appearance in a private state civil action against it, according to state law consistent with the majority view of all states, is there an adequate independent state ground as to jurisdiction over this foreign corporation?

8. Even if there had been no general appearance as described in Question 7, when a foreign newspaper corporation continuously and systematically gathers news by resident and transient correspondents, solicits advertising in person and by mail, and distributes its newspapers for sale in the forum state, and when some of these activities are incident to the cause of action in suit, has this foreign corporation sufficient contacts with the forum state so that suit against it is fair in accordance with decisions of this Court so explicit as to leave no room for real controversy?

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Brief for Respondent - On Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Alabamabrief For Respondent, Questions Presented, Statement