Libel Suit Ended, 1915

Courtroom drama was a rare thing in Skidmore, but it did appear on the docket occasionally, as we see in this item from the June 24, 1915 edition of the Skidmore New Era:

Libel Suit is Ended.

In the $10,000 libel suit of R. A. Walker of Skidmore, Mo. against Dr. F. A. Lee formerly of Skidmore, which had been on trial in Judge Mayer’s division of the circuit court since yesterday morning, the jury today returned a verdict for the plaintiff, awarding him $1 actual damages and $750 punitive damages.  The parties to the suit formerly were in business in St. Joseph.

Walker, who conducts a drug store at Skidmore, complained that last winter, as he was about to take on a heavy stock of holiday goods, Doctor Lee sent a letter to the C. D. Smith Drug Company of St. Joseph in which it was said the druggist was about to fail.  The note was signed “A Friend and Former Patron,” and the plaintiff contended that it seriously impaired his credit.

Doctor Lee denied authorship of the note, but several handwriting experts testified that the writing looked much like his.  Walker testified that there had been some feeling between him and Doctor Lee, because he (Walker) had charged the doctor 15 cents for a long distance telephone call out of the drug store.  Doctor Lee declared that there had been a plot to injure him.

Walker was represented by W. A. Blagg and George R. Ellison of Maryville, and Lee by B. R. Martin of St. Joseph.