Appeal from Circuit Court, Douglas County. Don H. Sanders, Judge.
John R. Faust, Jr., Portland, argued the cause for appellants. With him on the briefs were Cake, Hardy, Buttler, McEwen & Weiss, and Donald W. McEwen, Portland.
James H. Spence, Roseburg, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Washburn, Farrell & Spence, and Randolph Slocum, Roseburg.
Plaintiff brought a damage action for slander. Defendants appealed from a judgment for plaintiff entered pursuant to a jury verdict.
Plaintiff was an employe of the defendant Safeway Stores, Inc., at its Roseburg store. He was discharged from employment and shortly thereafter the defendant Coates, who was the manager of the Roseburg store, told three other Safeway employes that plaintiff was discharged because he had stolen from the company.
Defendants first contend that the court erred in allowing the following testimony over their objection:
"Q What economic effect, what was your economic situation after your termination at Safeway?
"MR. McEWEN: Just a minute. I am going to object. There is no allegation of special damage in the complaint, Your Honor, if that is the purpose of the question to elicit that information. There is no issue tendered by the pleadings.
"THE COURT: What is the purpose of it?
"MR. SPENCE: It comes within, Your Honor, a failure to work in the same employment that he had before, or in the same capacity that he had before, and this relates, of course, to general damages, as to what the economic impact of that was. I am not trying to establish any --
"THE COURT: I will overrule that. You may go ahead.
"Q (By Mr. Spence) What was your financial situation after your termination at Safeway?
"A (By the Witness) It was rather tight, while I was at Drive 'N Save because of supporting the family and also because my pay check was considerably smaller since I was working five days at Drive 'N Save. Of course, when I left Roseburg and
went to Eugene, it was extremely tight because I was out of employment and was unable to find employment in Eugene. It was almost like living on a shoestring. I was paying child support and trying to get myself by also and, for a time, even on unemployment, tried to keep up the financial obligations of credit responsibilities but was unable to and my ex-wife's father advised that I should take out bankruptcy.
"MR. McEWEN: Well, Your Honor, that is certainly wholly inappropriate; it is not responsive to the question.
"THE COURT: It isn't responsive and I will sustain that objection.
"Q (By Mr. Spence) Did you take out bankruptcy?
"A (By the Witness) Yes, sir.
"Q Now, you have already gone through the different kinds of employment you did obtain after being terminated at Safeway. What efforts, if any, did you ...