What are the Defenses to Libel and Defamation Claims in Ilinois

Under Illinois law, various defenses are recognized for libel actions. The first defense is the innocent construction doctrine. This doctrine posits that if a statement could be construed in a non-defamatory way, it cannot be considered defamatory.

Another defense is the expression of opinion. Statements of opinion, even if they are defamatory, do not result in a defamation claim if the statement cannot be reasonably interpreted as stating actual facts. The statement must have a precise and readily understood meaning, be verifiable, and its literary or social context should signal that it has factual content.

The defense of truth is also recognized. A defamatory statement can be defended if it is substantially true and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends. This is reflected in the Illinois Constitution which states: “In trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense”. It is enough to show that the publication is “substantially true”, or that the “gist”, the “sting”, or the “substantial truth” of the defamation can be justified.

The defense of ‘fair comment’ is another possible defense. In addition, there is a defense of privilege as a means for redressing grievances.

Another recognized defense under Illinois law is the qualified privilege, which requires good faith by the writer, an interest or duty to be upheld, the statement to be limited in its scope to that purpose, a proper occasion, and publication in a proper manner and to proper parties only.

Illinois law also recognizes a defense of absolute immunity that protects executive officials from defamation claims for statements made while acting within the scope of their official duties.

Finally, there is an exception for communications about a fellow worker to one’s employer, on the grounds that the risk of liability would induce employees to keep silent.

These defenses have been discussed in cases such as “Skolnick v. Correctional Medical Services, Inc.”, “Beauharnais v. People of State of Ill.”, “Intercon Solutions, Inc. v. Basel Action Network”, “Tilton v. Maley”, “Rivera v. Lake County”, “Pope v. Chronicle Pub. Co.”, “Pope v. The Chronicle Pub. Co.”, “Rupcich v. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 881”, “Farnsworth v. Tribune Co.”, “Haynes v. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.”, “Sullivan v. Conway”, “Phillips v. Quality Terminal Services, LLC”, “Republic Tobacco Co. v. North Atlantic Trading Co., Inc.”, and “Cross v. Fiscus”.

Choose Lubin Austermuehle as Your Libel Defense Attorneys

If you are facing a libel lawsuit in Illinois, hiring Lubin Austermuehle for your defense is a prudent choice due to their extensive experience and deep understanding of defamation law. Here’s why they stand out as an ideal choice:

  1. Experience in Defamation Law: Lubin Austermuehle has a team of attorneys with over thirty years of experience in defending and prosecuting defamation, slander, libel, and cyber smear lawsuits. Their extensive experience in this field makes them well-equipped to handle the complexities and nuances of libel cases.
  2. Knowledge of Illinois Law: They have a comprehensive understanding of Illinois defamation laws, including crucial defenses such as the substantial truth doctrine. This doctrine, upheld in several Illinois cases, states that a statement can be considered substantially true if its gist or sting is true, even if not every detail is accurate. This defense is vital in libel cases as it protects free speech and prevents minor inaccuracies from overshadowing the essential truth of a statement.
  3. Defense Strategies: Lubin Austermuehle can employ various defense strategies in libel cases. These include the innocent construction rule, where a statement can be interpreted innocently and thus not considered defamatory, and the blurring of distinctions between fact and opinion under the First Amendment, which recognizes that opinions can sometimes include false factual assertions.
  4. Personalized Approach: Every libel case is unique, and Lubin Austermuehle provides a personalized approach to each case. They work closely with their clients to assess the merits of the claim, develop a tailored defense strategy, and advocate vigorously on their behalf.
  5. Client Support: Defending against a libel claim can be a stressful process. Lubin Austermuehle offers compassion and understanding, ensuring that you have a trustworthy partner to guide you through the legal proceedings.

In conclusion, choosing Lubin Austermuehle for your libel defense in Illinois means you will have a skilled and experienced legal team committed to protecting your rights and interests. With their deep understanding of defamation law and strategic defense approaches, they are well-positioned to provide you with the best possible outcome in your case.

Call our Illinois and Chicago area libel, defamation and slander defense lawyers for a free consultation at 630-333-0333 or contact us online.

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