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Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. v. Hepps - Significance, Freedom To Defame, Chilling Effect, Private Citizens And Public Figures, Impact, Shield Laws

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988

Appellant

Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., et al.

Appellee

Maurice S. Hepps, et al.

Petitioner's Claim

That, due to First Amendment freedom of the press protections, a private individual in cases of public interest is responsible to prove accusations of criminal activity printed by a newspaper were false to win a defamation award.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

David H. Marion

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Ronald H. Surkin

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Place

Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

21 April 1986

Decision

Reversed the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and found that for a private individual to establish defamation by the press they are required to prove untruthfulness of the news articles.

Related Cases

  • NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415 (1963).
  • New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).
  • Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75 (1966).
  • Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 U.S. 374 (1967).
  • Gertz v. Welch, 418 U.S. 323 (1974).
  • Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988).

Sources

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Vol 2. New York: West Publishing, 1998.

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