Gertz v. Welch
United States Supreme Court
418 U.S. 323 (1974)
Nuccio, a Chicago policeman, shot and killed a youth named Nelson. Nuccio was convicted for second degree murder. The Nelson family retained Elmer Gertz (plaintiff), an attorney, to represent them in a civil action against Nuccio. Welch (defendant) was a publisher of American Opinion, a magazine that warned of a nationwide conspiracy to discredit local law enforcement agencies and replace them with a national police force capable of supporting a Communist dictatorship. The magazine ran a story about the Nuccio trial that accused Gertz of being a Communist and participating in the Communist campaign against local police. The magazine article contained serious factual inaccuracies. Gertz filed suit against Welch in federal district court seeking damages for libel. The district court awarded Gertz $50,000 in damages. The court of appeals affirmed but found that Gertz may have needed to prove actual malice to recover under New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)
Dissent (Brennan, J.)
Dissent (White, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 168,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.