Defamation lawsuit against two newspaper employees dismissed

Mandell Menkes lawyers prevailed on a motion to dismiss a defamation suit with ancillary claims for invasion of privacy, trespass, battery, assault and stalking on behalf of two central Illinois newspaper employees. The matter involved the newspaper’s report of an incident that ultimately led to plaintiff’s arrest and conviction for multiple criminal offenses.

The subject articles described the heroic efforts of one newspaper employee who noticed plaintiff acting suspiciously one morning on the street corner where he was servicing a newspaper vending machine. The employee reported that plaintiff appeared intoxicated and that he saw a large alcohol bottle on the front seat of plaintiff’s van parked on the street.  Plaintiff initiated a brief altercation and then entered his vehicle.  The newspaper employee kept watch over plaintiff and followed him in his own vehicle as plaintiff began driving erratically across town.  The employee contacted police and followed plaintiff at a safe distance until he was apprehended by police and arrested.  After reading the newspaper reports of the incident, plaintiff filed suit against the newspaper employee and the reporter who published the story of the incident.  The newspaper employees moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state any viable claims and on September 28, 2011, the court dismissed the entire complaint with prejudice.  On October 14, 2011 the plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal. Mandell Menkes partner Steven Mandell and associate Natalie Harris prepared the briefs in support of the motion to dismiss which was decided on the papers.