Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,300+ case briefs...

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

United States Supreme Court
376 U.S. 254 (1964)

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan


Sullivan (plaintiff) was Commissioner of the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of the Cemetery, and Department of Scales for Montgomery, Alabama. He brought a civil libel action against New York Times Co. (defendant) after it printed allegedly false and defamatory statements about Sullivan’s actions to control African American protesters and his treatment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The newspaper article in question accused Sullivan’s police force of conducting a wave of terror against African American students and brutally harassing Dr. King. It is undisputed that several of the allegations were either false or exaggerated. At trial, the trial judge charged the jury that the statements in the article were “libelous per se” and that damages were appropriate if the statements were merely “of and concerning” Sullivan. The jury returned a verdict for Sullivan and awarded him $500,000 in damages. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, 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 486,000 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.

  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. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 486,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,300 briefs, keyed to 985 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.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial