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Leopold v. Levin

259 N.E.2d 250 (1970)

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Leopold v. Levin

Illinois Supreme Court

259 N.E.2d 250 (1970)

Facts

In 1924, Nathan Leopold, Jr. (plaintiff) and the late Richard Loeb pleaded guilty to the kidnapping and murder of a 14-year-old boy. The Leopold and Loeb case continued to garner public attention for decades, with Leopold himself often encouraging the attention. Meyer Levin (defendant) wrote a novel, Compulsion, drawn from the facts of the case but with fictional additions. Real names were omitted from the novel, but the names of Leopold and Loeb were used in advertising to promote the novel. Compulsion was also made into a play and a motion picture. Leopold brought suit against Levin, various publishers and distributors of the novel, and various parties involved in the production and distribution of the film version (defendants). Leopold moved for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. Levin and the other defendants appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, but the appeal was dismissed because the case was interlocutory. The case was then remanded and assigned to a new judge, who vacated the previous judge’s grant of summary judgment for Leopold and instead granted summary judgment to Levin and his codefendants. Leopold appealed. The Illinois Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ward, J.)

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