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Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

United States Supreme Court
485 U.S. 46 (1988)


Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

Facts

Hustler Magazine is a magazine of nationwide circulation. Jerry Falwell (plaintiff) was a nationally known minister who had been an active commentator on political and public affairs. Hustler printed a parody article that suggested Falwell and his mother were drunk and immoral. Falwell sued Hustler Magazine and its publisher, Larry Flynt (defendants) in federal district court to recover damages for invasion of privacy, libel, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury found against Falwell on the libel claim, finding that the ad parody couldn’t have been reasonably understood as representing actual facts about Falwell. The district court held for Falwell only on the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim and awarded him $200,000 in damages. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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