Defamation cases are some of the toughest civil claims that can be brought, so any lawfirm that knows this law must be very selective in case selection. Between the high burdens of proof placed on public figures and public officials via the seminal New York Times v. Sullivan case, and statutory limitations that severely limit or prohibit claims for internet based defamation, these cases require special skill and talent.
Since 1958, The Beasley Firm has represented:
- Public figures
- Television personalities
- Business owners
We do not represent individuals who have disputes on facebook or other social media locations, as the statutory protections (while outdated) of the hosts of, for example, websites, make these matters not appropriate for litigation.
Defamation Case Victories
The Beasley Firm has decades of experience handling defamation cases, and most likely handles more complex defamation litigation on behalf of public figures and public officials than any other lawfirm in Pennsylvania. In fact, one of our clients, a reporter, wrote a book about his experience with our founding attorney, Jim Beasley Sr., entitled "The Courtroom Cowboy." Attorney Jim Beasley Sr. was devoted to fighting for the truth. The firm today upholds his bold and unwavering position in matters of defamation, libel, and slander. Here are just some of our awards that helped our clients clear their names:
- Sprague v. Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc.: $34 million libel verdict, the largest defamation award in Pennsylvania history. The Beasley Firm sued the Philadelphia Inquirer and won $34 million on behalf of Richard Sprague, who was accused of quashing a murder investigation when he was acting as Philadelphia's Assistant District Attorney.
- McDermott v. PNI: $6 million libel verdict in a case where The Beasley Firm represented Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice James McDermott after a newspaper series titled "Above the Law," accused Justice McDermott, and others on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, of corruption and unethical behavior. The jury deliberated for nine hours and awarded Justice McDermott $3 million compensatory and $3 million punitive damages.
- Cipriano v. PNI: CONFIDENTIAL settlement (the Philadelphia City Paper said it was "widely rumored to be for as much as $7 million"). This case is the only known time that a reporter sued his own employer for libel. Ralph Cipriano was a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer for over 20 years; while working the religion beat, he had uncovered massive corruption in the Catholic Church. When Cipriano tried to have the Inquirer publish his story exposing the Archdiocese for extravagant spending while at the same time closing parochial schools, the newspaper's editor refused to publish it. Reporter Cipriano had the article instead published in the National Catholic Reporter. When the newspaper's editor was asked why the Inquirer hadn't didn't publish the piece, Cipriano's boss accused him of writing false information.
- Laxalt v. Sacramento Bee: We represented then-Senator Paul Laxalt (R, Nev) against the Sacramento Bee, which reported that Laxalt was "skimming" profits from a casino in which he had an interest. For the first time in its history, the paper published a retraction and paid over $750,000.00.
- Hilary Koprowski, M.D. v. Rolling Stone Magazine: Dr. Koprowski is credited as being one of the creators of the polio vaccine. Rolling Stone magazine wrote an article accusing Dr. Koprowski of causing AIDS - the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) due to his work with monkeys on the Polio vaccine. We brought suit against Rolling Stone and, among other things, they published a detailed retraction to clear Dr. Koprowski's name.
- Substantial CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT and a retraction for a prominent local attorney who was ambushed in his office and accused by the news media of not having the correct qualifications to operate the aircraft he unfortunately crashed. This case was significant in that we were able to have this attorney considered a private figure in spite of his prominence in the national legal community.
- Henne M.D. v. Thomas Jefferson University and Feldman, M.D.: CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT for a libel suit against Dr. Henne's employer, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, for defaming the emergency room physician's name due to him refusing to preferentially direct patients away from their regular doctors and to Jefferson University to increase business to the hospital.
- Confidential Settlement for Rob Guarino: Former Fox Philly 29 News meteorologist and weatherman, and founder of www.liveweatherblogs.com against a former business partner who posted false and defaming comments about Mr. Guarino on the liveweatherblogs.com web site.
As you can see, our firm's extensive history in defamation law has led to many victories on our clients' behalf. We aggressively defend your name and fight to ensure your reputation is undamaged.