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BARR V. MATTEO, 360 U. S. 564 (1959)

U.S. Supreme Court

Barr v. Matteo, 360 U.S. 564 (1959)

Barr v. Matteo

No. 350

Argued April 20, 1959

Decided June 29, 1959

360 U.S. 564


When petitioner was Acting Director of the Office of Rent Stabilization and respondents were subordinate officials of the same office, petitioner caused to be issued a press release announcing his intention to suspend respondents because of the part which they had played in formulating a plan for the utilization of certain agency funds. The plan had been severely criticized on the floor of Congress, and the congressional criticism had been widely reported in the press. Respondents sued petitioner for libel, alleging malice.

Held: Petitioner's plea of absolute privilege in defense of the alleged libel must be sustained. Pp. 360 U. S. 564-578.

103 U.S.App.D.C. 176, 256 F.2d 890, reversed.

For judgment of the Court and opinion of MR. JUSTICE HARLAN, joined by MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, MR. JUSTICE CLARK and MR. JUSTICE WITTAKER, see pp. 360 U. S. 564-576.

For concurring opinion of MR. JUSTICE BLACK, see p. 360 U. S. 576.

For dissenting opinion of MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN, joined by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, see p. 360 U. S. 578.

For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, see p. 360 U. S. 586.

For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE STEWART, see p. 360 U. S. 592.

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