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Cook v. Winfrey

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
975 F.Supp. 1045 (1997)


Facts

Randolph Cook (plaintiff), a resident of Ohio, filed suit against Oprah Winfrey (defendant), a resident of Illinois and television talk show host, alleging that Winfrey had slandered him in public and private conversations with other individuals.  Cook alleged that he and Winfrey had a relationship in the past during which time he claimed he and Winfrey used cocaine on a regular basis. Cook was in contact with several media outlets to publish articles and stories regarding their alleged relationship. While entertaining offers from the media, Cook claims Winfrey denied the pair ever had a relationship and made statements indicating he was a “liar” and that he could not be trusted or believed.  Based upon Winfrey’s comments, Cook then filed suit. After the suit was filed, Winfrey was quoted in the National Enquirer, a national news tabloid, that she would fight the lawsuit until she was bankrupt before she gave a penny to Cook, the liar, and that the suit was a “pack of lies.” Cook claimed that he was prevented from entering into an agreement with any media outlet to sell his story due to Winfrey’s comments. Cook amended his initial complaint to take into account Winfrey’s comments after the suit was filed. Winfrey filed a motion to dismiss Cook’s amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kocoras, 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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