Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch
Defamation In Common Law, Precedent, Thegertz Case, A Balance, Gertz Not A Public Figure
Robert Welch, Inc.
That an article in the respondent's magazine had defamed him, and that the respondent was liable for damages.
Chief Lawyer for Petitioner
Wayne B. Giampietro
Chief Lawyer for Respondent
Clyde J. Watts
Justices for the Court
Harry A. Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart
William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, William O. Douglas, Byron R. White
Date of Decision
25 June 1974
The Court overruled the court of appeals and district court rulings and held that the respondent was liable for damages.
The decision established a precedent for libel cases involving private individuals. Unlike public officials or public figures, private individuals did not need to establish actual malice in order to receive damages.
In Gertz the Court attempted to formulate a test to identify public figures. Lower courts have not been able to discern a clear precedent, though, particularly for the limited-purpose public figure. They have thus produced inconsistent and unpredictable judgments regarding who is a public figure. The effect is a press unsure of its protection when commenting on certain individuals, resulting perhaps in some self-censorship.
- New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).
- Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967).
- Rosenbloom v. Metromedia, 403 U.S. 29 (1971).
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- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Defamation In Common Law
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Further Readings
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Precedent
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Thegertz Case
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - A Balance
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Gertz Not A Public Figure
- Inc. Gertz v. Robert Welch - Definition Of A Public Figure
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