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Bose Corporation v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
466 U.S. 485 (1984)


Facts

Consumers Union of United States, Inc. (Consumer Reports) (defendant) published an article that allegedly disparaged a sound system manufactured by Bose Corporation (Bose) (plaintiff). Bose brought a product disparagement suit against Consumer Reports. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts found that Bose was a “public figure” for disparagement purposes and held in favor of Bose, finding that Bose proved by clear and convincing evidence that Consumer Reports had made a false, disparaging statement about Bose with “actual malice.” The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts based its conclusion primarily on the testimony of the author of the article. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit performed a de novo review of the facts, rather than a review based on the clearly erroneous standard, and reversed, holding that Bose in fact had not proved by clear and convincing evidence that Consumer Reports published the statement in question with actual malice. Bose appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Rehnquist, J.)

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