Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

Philadelphia Newspapers v. Hepps

United States Supreme Court
475 U.S. 767 (1986)



Philadelphia Newspapers (newspaper) (defendant) published five stories about Hepps (plaintiff) and the corporation of which he was a principal stockholder. The stories claimed Hepps had links to organized crime and used those links to influence state administrative and legislative processes. Hepps brought suit against the newspaper for defamation. At trial, the newspaper relied on Pennsylvania’s “shield law” which provides that a media reporter is not required to disclose any sources of information in any legal proceeding or investigation. The trial judge held Hepps could not recover damages without proving falsity of the newspaper stories, but declined to answer whether an inference of falsity could be drawn from the newspaper’s reliance on the shield law. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held Hepps could recover only by proving fault by the newspaper, not falsity. Additionally, it held that to place the burden of showing truth on the newspaper was not unconstitutional. The case was remanded for a new trial. The United States Supreme Court noted probable jurisdiction over the case.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, 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 496,000 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 496,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 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