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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Time Inc.
(Reargued the cause for appellant)
(Reargued the cause for appellee)
Facts of the Case 

In 1952, three escaped convicts took James Hill, his wife, and their five children hostage in their Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, home. After nineteen hours, the family was released unharmed. The convicts were later apprehended in a violent clash with police during which two of them were killed. In 1953, Joseph Hays' published a novel based on the Hill family's ordeal. When the novel was subsequently made into a play, Life Magazine ("Life") printed an article about the play that mirrored many of its inaccuracies concerning the Hill family's experience. Alleging that it deliberately misrepresented his story, Hill sought damages against Life. On appeal from an adverse ruling, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court remanded for a new trial where a reduced adverse ruling was imposed on Life. Following an unsuccessful appeal in the New York Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court granted Life's owner, Time Inc. ("Time") certiorari.


Is a publication, containing misrepresentations about the subject of its coverage, protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantees?

Decision: 5 votes for Time Inc., 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

Yes. In a 6-to-3 opinion, the Court set aside the Appellate ruling against Time because the lower court failed to instruct the jury that Time's liability was contingent upon a showing that it knowingly and recklessly published false statements about the Hill family. The Court explained that absent a finding of such malicious intent on the part of a publisher, press statements are protected under the First Amendment even if they are otherwise false or inaccurate. The Court remanded for retrial under the new jury instruction.

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TIME INC. v. HILL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1965/1965_22>.
TIME INC. v. HILL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1965/1965_22 (last visited August 25, 2015).
"TIME INC. v. HILL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1965/1965_22.