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McKee v. William H. Cosby, Jr.

586 U.S. ___ (2019)

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McKee v. William H. Cosby, Jr.

United States Supreme Court

586 U.S. ___ (2019)

Facts

In 2014, Kathrine McKee (plaintiff) publicly accused actor Bill Cosby (defendant) of raping her 40 years prior. McKee alleged that Cosby’s attorney retaliated by writing and leaking a letter containing defamatory information about her personal life and character. McKee filed suit in federal court for a state-law defamation claim. The case was dismissed. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the court held that by disclosing the accusation to a reporter, McKee became a limited-purpose public figure. Public figures are not entitled to damages for defamation unless they can meet the difficult showing that the statement was made with actual malice. McKee failed to meet her burden. She appealed to the United States Supreme Court, requesting review of her classification as a limited-purpose public figure.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

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