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Boese v. Paramount Pictures Corporation

952 F.Supp. 550 (1996)

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Boese v. Paramount Pictures Corporation

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

952 F.Supp. 550 (1996)

Facts

Virginia Weathers (defendant) filed a claim with her homeowners’ insurance provider following a fire that destroyed her home. The insurance company, American Family Insurance, hired Robert Boese (plaintiff) to investigate the fire. Boese was a forensic chemist and conducted a chemical analysis of debris from the home. Boese concluded that an accelerant was present on the debris and reported this finding to the insurance company. The insurance company then denied the claim. The State of Kansas prosecuted Weathers for aggravated arson. The jury found Weathers not guilty, and Weathers sued the insurance company, Boese’s company, and others. Weathers obtained an $8 million judgment against the insurance company. A news show called Hard Copy, published by Paramount Pictures Corporation (defendant), ran a story on Weathers. The story included a clip of Boese on the witness stand during the criminal trial and ended with Weathers stating that everybody lied, all the way down the line, and that came back to haunt them. Boese sued Paramount, Weathers, and others, alleging false-light invasion of privacy. In the lawsuit, Boese alleged that the reporters working for Paramount failed to contact him as a source and failed to investigate numerous other sources, which meant that Paramount acted with actual malice. Paramount moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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