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Pop Quiz: Is this Defamation?

  • By: Alan E. Sohn
  • Published: September 30, 2013

Recently an Illinois appellate court determined whether the following was actionable defamation:

    1. “(He) pocketed the money”;
    2. Was a “corrupt director”;
    3. “Used bully tactics to try gain yet more money”;
    4. “Failed to give the deliverable that was contracted for”; and
    5. Was operating a “fraud machine”.

What do you think? If your answer is yes, you would be wrong according to the trial judge and the appellate court. The court held that such statements are merely non-actionable opinion and “while arguably harsh, merely amount to loose, figurative language that no reasonable person would believe presented facts and which is therefore non-actionable”.

While I am not recommending that you go out and publish accusations of this kind against another person, if you do, it may not be necessary to call your attorney or your insurance company to defend you. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Alan E. Sohn

Alan E. Sohn received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law of the
University of Illinois. Mr. Sohn has been a partner in both large and
smaller law firms and for the past 21 years has been in private practice.