Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

MacElree v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.

674 A.2d 1050 (1996)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 35,600+ case briefs...

MacElree v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

674 A.2d 1050 (1996)

Facts

In 1991, the Philadelphia Inquirer, a newspaper owned by Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (defendant) published an article by B.J. Phillips (defendant) that discussed a fight that occurred on a college campus in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The article included a statement, purportedly made by the college’s lawyer, that accused Chester County’s district attorney, James MacElree (plaintiff) of electioneering and likened MacElree to David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and politician known for expressing racist views (the statement). Although MacElree did not believe the college’s lawyer made the statement, MacElree sued Phillips and Philadelphia Newspapers, claiming the statement was defamatory. The trial court sustained preliminary objections raised in a demurrer filed by Phillips and Philadelphia Newspapers. The intermediate appellate court affirmed, agreeing with the trial court that the statement did not constitute actionable defamation and holding that MacElree’s suit had to be dismissed unless a reasonable person would read the statement, taken in context, as defamatory. The intermediate appellate court said that the reference to Duke was simply a metaphor and that the statement merely accused MacElree of being a racist. The intermediate appellate court also noted that the statement comprised only a small portion of Phillips’s article and said that, overall, the article presented MacElree in a more favorable light than it did the college’s officials. MacElree appealed the decision of the intermediate appellate court to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Flaherty, J.)

Concurrence (Cappy, J.)

What to do next…

  1. 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 618,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. 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.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 35,600 briefs, keyed to 984 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.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 618,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 35,600 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership