In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and the omnipresence of the internet, the boundaries of free speech have become more ambiguous than ever before. In the United States, the First Amendment safeguards the freedom of expression, including the freedom of the press. However, this freedom is not absolute, and there are instances where speech can cross the line into libel, damaging reputations and causing harm. To address this evolving landscape, the United States Supreme Court has issued several groundbreaking opinions on libel in recent years. In this blog post, we will explore some of these significant rulings and their implications for free speech in the digital age.

  1. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) – Setting the Standard

Before delving into the recent opinions, it’s essential to understand the foundational case of New York Times v. Sullivan. This landmark decision established a higher standard for public figures to prove libel. To succeed in a libel lawsuit, public figures must demonstrate “actual malice,” which means that the defamatory statement was made with reckless disregard for the truth. This precedent has been pivotal in protecting freedom of speech, ensuring that robust public debate can take place without fear of crippling defamation suits.

  1. Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co. (1990) – Opinions or Factual Statements?

In the case of Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., the Supreme Court grappled with the distinction between opinions and factual statements. The ruling clarified that even statements of opinion can be considered libelous if they imply false facts. This decision underscored the importance of fact-checking and journalistic integrity in the world of media and journalism. Continue reading ›

In a world where consumer lawsuits and class actions seem to be on the rise, businesses are constantly seeking effective strategies to defend themselves against potential legal challenges. One strategy that often flies under the radar but can be a game-changer is product recalls. While recalls are typically viewed as an admission of fault, they can actually serve as a powerful defense strategy, potentially short-circuiting class action lawsuits before they gain traction. In this blog, we’ll explore how recalls can be a great defense strategy for businesses.

1. Swift Action and Responsibility

One of the primary reasons recalls can be an effective defense strategy is the swift action and responsibility they demonstrate. When a company identifies a potential safety issue with one of its products and voluntarily recalls it, they are taking proactive steps to protect their consumers. This responsible and proactive approach can help build goodwill with customers and regulators.

By recalling a product quickly, a company can show that they prioritize safety over profit, which can make it challenging for plaintiffs to argue that the company was negligent or intentionally harmed consumers. Instead of facing a drawn-out legal battle, the company can focus on rectifying the issue and rebuilding trust.

2. Mitigation of Damages

Recalls also allow companies to mitigate potential damages, which can be a significant factor in deterring class action lawsuits. When a company recalls a product, they can take it off the market, preventing further harm to consumers and limiting potential damages. This swift action can reduce the overall number of affected consumers and the associated financial impact.

In a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs often seek damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. By recalling the product early, a company can argue that they took reasonable steps to prevent these damages from occurring or escalating. Continue reading ›

In the ever-evolving landscape of the entertainment industry, few legal battles have captured as much attention and controversy as the long-standing dispute between pop superstar Kesha and music producer Dr. Luke. For years, this high-profile libel suit cast a shadow over both artists’ careers and ignited passionate discussions about the complexities of the music industry, artistic freedom, and the pursuit of justice. In this blog post, we will explore the settlement of the Kesha and Dr. Luke libel suit and the implications it carries for the entertainment world.


The conflict between Kesha (born Kesha Rose Sebert) and Dr. Luke (real name Lukasz Gottwald) dates back to 2014 when Kesha accused her former producer of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, which Dr. Luke vehemently denied. In response, Dr. Luke filed a defamation lawsuit against Kesha, claiming that her allegations damaged his reputation and career. This legal battle became a focal point of the #MeToo movement, sparking a broader conversation about the treatment of women in the music industry.

The Settlement

After years of legal wrangling, in February 2021, Kesha and Dr. Luke reached a settlement that put an end to their protracted legal dispute. The terms of the settlement were kept confidential, leaving many unanswered questions about what led to this resolution. While the public may never know the details of the agreement, the mere fact that both parties chose to settle speaks volumes about the complexities of their case. Continue reading ›

Corporate veil piercing is a legal concept that allows a court to hold individual shareholders or owners of a corporation personally liable for the corporation’s actions or debts. It is a complex legal doctrine that is typically associated with business law, but in the case of Oliver v. Isenberg, 2019 IL App (1st) 181551-U, it was invoked in the context of family law. In this blog post, we will explore the unique application of veil piercing in this case and its implications for corporate liability in family law matters.

Background of the Case

Oliver v. Isenberg was primarily a family law case involving child custody and visitation rights. However, a significant twist in this case involved the issue of veil piercing, which emerged when Mr. Oliver sought to hold Ms. Isenberg personally liable for certain corporate debts.

The Legal Issues

  1. Veil Piercing in Family Law: Veil piercing is a legal doctrine more commonly associated with business law. It allows a court to disregard the legal separation between a corporation and its owners when certain conditions are met. In Oliver v. Isenberg, the issue was whether this doctrine could be applied in a family law context.
  2. Corporate Debts and Personal Liability: Mr. Oliver argued that Ms. Isenberg had manipulated the family’s corporate assets and finances to avoid paying child support and alimony. He contended that her actions were tantamount to piercing the corporate veil, making her personally liable for the outstanding financial obligations.
  3. Complex Legal Terrain: Veil piercing cases are notoriously complex, requiring the court to consider various factors, including whether the corporation was used to commit fraud, evade legal obligations, or if it lacked a true separate identity from its owners. In the family law context, this complexity was compounded by the emotional and personal nature of the dispute.

Continue reading ›

Buying a used car can be an exciting experience, but it comes with risks, particularly when it involves fraud. Fortunately, Illinois has robust consumer protection laws, and recent court decisions shed light on how these laws are applied in cases of used car fraud. In this blog post, we’ll explore key court decisions in Illinois that have significant implications for consumers and dealerships involved in used car transactions.

**1. People v. Atlantic Auto Group, Inc. (2020 IL App (1st) 181609)

In this Illinois Appellate Court decision, the court addressed deceptive advertising practices by a used car dealership. The court found that the dealership’s advertising, which touted false price reductions, violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. This decision reaffirmed the importance of truth in advertising and the consequences for dealerships engaging in deceptive practices.

**2. Barton v. Auto Auction Mall, Inc. (2021 IL App (2d) 200450)

This Illinois Appellate Court case centered on an online car auction platform. The court ruled that the platform could be held liable for fraudulent misrepresentations made by a seller on its platform. This decision highlights the responsibility of online car marketplaces to monitor and address fraudulent listings. Continue reading ›

Bringing a used car fraud case under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (ICFA) can be a complex process, but it’s essential to protect your rights as a consumer. If you believe you’ve been a victim of used car fraud in Illinois, here are the steps you should consider taking:

1. Gather Documentation: Start by collecting all relevant documents related to the used car purchase. This includes the sales contract, any warranties or guarantees, repair records, communications with the seller, and any advertisements or representations made about the car’s condition.

2. Understand the ICFA: Familiarize yourself with the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, which is designed to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair business practices. The ICFA prohibits false statements, misrepresentations, knowing omissions of material fact (such as knowing concealing that the frame is rusted out and the car is dangerous to drive or that it has been in a bad accident and no proper repair work was performed), and other fraudulent actions in the sale of goods and services, including used cars.

3. Consult an Attorney: It’s highly advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in consumer fraud and automotive fraud cases. They can assess your situation, determine if you have a valid case, and provide guidance on how to proceed.

4. Prove Deception or Unfair Practices: To bring a successful used car fraud case under the ICFA, you generally need to prove that:

  • The seller made false statements, knowingly failed to disclose material facts or engaged in deceptive practices.
  • You relied on those statements, omissions or practices.
  • You suffered damages as a result.

Continue reading ›

Shareholder and LLC member disputes can be complex and contentious, especially when one party attempts a “freeze-out.” A freeze-out refers to the exclusion of a shareholder or member from the decision-making process or the benefits of ownership. In Illinois, recent court decisions have shed light on the legal principles surrounding these disputes. In this blog post, we will explore some of these notable cases and the lessons they offer for those facing or involved in freeze-out situations.

1. Ritchie Capital Management, LLC v. Gerard (2019 IL 124741)

In Ritchie Capital Management, LLC v. Gerard, the Illinois Supreme Court addressed the issue of “squeeze-outs” in limited liability companies (LLCs). The court emphasized that LLC managers owe fiduciary duties to the members, and a manager’s attempt to squeeze out another member for personal gain can lead to a breach of those duties. This decision underscored the importance of fairness and transparency in LLC operations and clarified the standards for assessing fiduciary duty violations.

2. Hagan v. Quinn (2020 IL 124989)

Hagan v. Quinn involved a shareholder dispute in a closely held corporation. The Illinois Supreme Court in this case held that shareholders in a closely held corporation owe each other a duty of utmost good faith and loyalty. The court emphasized that majority shareholders must act fairly and reasonably toward minority shareholders and avoid oppressive conduct. This decision reaffirmed the principles of fairness and equitable treatment among shareholders. Continue reading ›

There’s a reason most survivors of sexual assault never report the crime. Many of those who do report it go by Jane Doe to protect their identity and avoid some of the abuse and death threats that get aimed at anyone who claims they were sexually assaulted.

Regardless of what the survivors of sexual assault are made to endure, society is generally more sympathetic towards the accused and the possibility that the accusation will follow them around for the rest of their life.

The latest example of this is the recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court to allow a former Yale undergraduate student who was accused of rape to sue his accuser for defamation.

When he first filed his lawsuit against his accuser, who is going by Jane Doe to protect her identity, an attorney representing Doe said she was protected by absolute immunity under Title IX, which is the law under which she made her accusation.

But the former Yale student insisted he had the right to sue her, and the case made its way up the court system until it reached the Connecticut Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor.

According to the state supreme court, Doe had qualified immunity, which allows the defamation lawsuit to go to trial, but requires the plaintiff to prove the defendant knew their statement was false or did not care that it was likely false at the time the alleged defamation occurred.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Doe would only have been granted absolute immunity if the Title IX proceedings had been quasi-judicial.

To qualify as quasi-judicial proceedings, they would have had to include Doe testifying under oath; the cross-examination of witnesses in real time; providing both parties the opportunity to present witnesses; allowing the accused to consult with an attorney; and providing the accused with a transcript or some other record of the hearing afterwards.

The problem with these requirements (especially the first two) is that it can be extremely difficult for survivors of sexual assault to relive their trauma by explaining it again and again on the stand. Continue reading ›

Bankruptcy allows people and businesses to “discharge” some of their debts. But representatives for the families of the children involved in the Sandy Hook massacre are asking Judge Christopher Lopez to make the settlement money Alex Jones owes them “non-dischargeable.”

The families sued Alex Jones, who repeatedly called the Sandy Hook massacre a hoax on his website and podcast, InfoWars. His rhetoric prompted many of his followers to harass the families and survivors of Sandy Hook, both in person and online. Some families were forced to move to a different neighborhood, and many still do not feel safe as a result of the harassment and death threats to which they have been subject by Jones’s followers.

In the fall of 2022, Jones was ordered to pay close to $1 billion to the families of Sandy Hook for defaming them for years on his website and his podcast. That was after defamation trials in Texas and Connecticut ordered Jones to pay $1.4 billion in damages to the families of 10 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. Continue reading ›

People who already have wealth and power are increasingly using defamation lawsuits as a weapon against their enemies. Even when the lawsuits are found to be baseless, they’re still having the desired effect of silencing the plaintiff’s opponents.

Newspapers have increasingly been targeted by defamation lawsuits. While large, national newspapers, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have the resources to fight these lawsuits, small, local newspapers do not.

The Wausau Pilot & Review is a local newspaper reporting on local events in Wausau County, located in north-central Wisconsin. When they got a tip from a reader that someone at the August 12th meeting of the Wausau County board used an anti-gay slur, they acted on the tip and reported on it in their newspaper. Continue reading ›

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