PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS INC. v. HEPPS

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
84-1491
Appellee 
Hepps
Appellant 
Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellants)
(Argued the cause for the appellees)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In a series of articles, the Philadelphia Inquirer accused Hepps of links to organized crime and of capitalizing on that connection to influence the state legislature. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court favored Hepps and held that the newspaper was obligated to prove its accusations true.

Question 

Did the state supreme court's decision violate the First Amendment?

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

Yes. Relying on its reasoning in Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc. (1974), the Court reversed the state court's decision. The Gertz standard for evaluating potentially libelous speech required that "the plaintiff bear the burden of showing falsity, as well as fault, before recovering damages."

Cite this Page
PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS INC. v. HEPPS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 10 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1491>.
PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS INC. v. HEPPS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1491 (last visited November 10, 2014).
"PHILADELPHIA NEWSPAPERS INC. v. HEPPS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 10, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1985/1985_84_1491.