Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts

Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States established the standard of First Amendment protection against defamation claims brought by private individuals.[1]

Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued February 23, 1967
Decided June 12, 1967
Full case nameCurtis Publishing Company v. Wally Butts
Citations388 U.S. 130 (more)
94 S. Ct. 2997; 41 L. Ed. 2d 789; 1974 U.S. LEXIS 88; 1 Media L. Rep. 1633
Prior historyCert. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Subsequent historyNo. 37, 351 F.2d 702, affirmed; No. 150, 393 S.W.2d 671, reversed and remanded
Holding
Libel damages may be recoverable against a news organization if the injured party is not a public official, but a claimant must demonstrate a reckless lack of professional standards, on the part of the organization, in examining allegations for reasonable credibility.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · William O. Douglas
Tom C. Clark · John M. Harlan II
William J. Brennan Jr. · Potter Stewart
Byron White · Abe Fortas
Case opinions
PluralityHarlan, joined by Clark, Stewart, Fortas
ConcurrenceWarren
Concur/dissentBlack, joined by Douglas
Concur/dissentBrennan, joined by White
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I

Background

The case involved a libel lawsuit filed by former Georgia Bulldogs football coach Wally Butts against the Saturday Evening Post. The lawsuit arose from an article in the magazine that alleged that Butts and Alabama head coach Bear Bryant had conspired to fix games. The Butts suit was consolidated with another case, Associated Press v. Walker, and the two cases were decided in one opinion.

In finding for Butts but against Walker, the Supreme Court gave some indications of when a "public figure" could sue for libel.

Decision

In a plurality opinion, written by Justice John Marshall Harlan II, the Court held that news organizations were protected from liability when printing allegations about public officials. However, the Supreme Court's New York Times Co. v. Sullivan decision (1964) lets them still be liable to public figures if the information that they disseminate is recklessly gathered and unchecked.[2]

The Court ultimately ruled in favor of Butts, and the Saturday Evening Post was ordered to pay $3.06 million to Butts in damages, which was later reduced on appeal to $460,000.[3]

The settlement was seen as a contributing factor in the demise of the venerable Saturday Evening Post and its parent corporation, the Curtis Publishing Company, two years later.[3] Both Butts and Bryant had sued for $10 million each. Bryant settled for $300,000.

See also

References

  1. ^ 388 U.S. 130 (1967)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Wally Butts, Ex-Georgia Coach, Dies; Won Large Libel Suit Coached Noted Players". The New York Times. December 18, 1973. p. 46.

External links

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List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 388

This is a list of all the United States Supreme Court cases from volume 388 of the United States Reports:

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

Washington v. Texas, 388 U.S. 14 (1967)

NLRB v. Great Dane Trailers, Inc., 388 U.S. 26 (1967)

Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41 (1967)

Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967)

NLRB v. Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 175 (1967)

United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218 (1967)

Gilbert v. California, 388 U.S. 263 (1967)

Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293 (1967)

Walker v. Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307 (1967)

United States v. Sealy, Inc., 388 U.S. 350 (1967)

United States v. Arnold, Schwinn & Co., 388 U.S. 365 (1967)

Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 395 (1967)

Wisconsin v. Illinois, 388 U.S. 426 (1967)

Jacobs v. New York, 388 U.S. 431 (1967) (per curiam)

Tannenbaum v. New York, 388 U.S. 439 (1967) (per curiam)

Keney v. New York, 388 U.S. 440 (1967) (per curiam)

Friedman v. New York, 388 U.S. 441 (1967) (per curiam)

Ratner v. California, 388 U.S. 442 (1967) (per curiam)

Cobert v. New York, 388 U.S. 443 (1967) (per curiam)

Sheperd v. New York, 388 U.S. 444 (1967) (per curiam)

New York Central R. Co. v. United States, 388 U.S. 445 (1967) (per curiam)

Avansino v. New York, 388 U.S. 446 (1967) (per curiam)

Aday v. United States, 388 U.S. 447 (1967) (per curiam)

Corinth Publications, Inc. v. Wesberry, 388 U.S. 448 (1967) (per curiam)

Books, Inc. v. United States, 388 U.S. 449 (1967) (per curiam)

Rosenbloom v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 450 (1967) (per curiam)

Burkard v. New York, 388 U.S. 451 (1967) (per curiam)

A Quantity of Copies of Books v. Kansas, 388 U.S. 452 (1967) (per curiam)

Whitehouse Trucking, Inc. v. United States, 388 U.S. 453 (1967) (per curiam)

Mazes v. Ohio, 388 U.S. 453 (1967) (per curiam)

Schackman v. California, 388 U.S. 454 (1967) (per curiam)

Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen v. United States, 388 U.S. 455 (1967) (per curiam)

Landau v. Fording, 388 U.S. 456 (1967) (per curiam)

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. v. Bureau of Revenue of N. M., 388 U.S. 457 (1967) (per curiam)

Lupton Mfg. Co. v. United States, 388 U.S. 457 (1967) (per curiam)

Canton Poultry, Inc. v. Conner, 388 U.S. 458 (1967) (per curiam)

Parks v. Simpson Timber Co., 388 U.S. 459 (1967) (per curiam)

Savio v. California, 388 U.S. 460 (1967) (per curiam)

Pierrel v. United States Court of Appeals for D. C. Circuit, 388 U.S. 460 (1967) (per curiam)

Sanchez v. Cox, 388 U.S. 461 (1967) (per curiam)

Balles v. New Jersey, 388 U.S. 461 (1967) (per curiam)

Stellas v. Esperdy, 388 U.S. 462 (1967) (per curiam)

Sandoval v. Utah, 388 U.S. 463 (1967) (per curiam)

Hadley v. Massachusetts, 388 U.S. 464 (1967) (per curiam)

Hemphill v. Illinois, 388 U.S. 465 (1967) (per curiam)

Fox v. Oregon, 388 U.S. 466 (1967) (per curiam)

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