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New York Times C. v. Sullivan Law Case Study Paper (Case Study Sample)


Being able to succinctly brief court opinions is an essential tool for understanding case law and applying it to real situations in mass communications. During this semester, we will discuss several significant Supreme Court, federal and state decisions regarding mass communication law. Briefing these cases will significantly aid your comprehension of the key points and your preparation for examinations.
In order to help understand the practice and format of briefing cases, each student will be required to hand in two briefs, each worth 25 points. Each brief should be between two and three typewritten, double-spaced pages, printed in 12-point font. Follow the format of Brown v. Board of Education that is featured in the following pages on briefing cases from Wren’s The Legal Research Manual.


Student’s Name
Professor’s Name
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Name of case: New York Times Co. v.
Citation:  U.S. 265-292 273 Ala. 656, 144co.2d 25, 376 U.S. 254,255,279-283, 274 U.S.357, 375-376
Date of the Decision: 1964
Vote: 9-0
Author of Opinion: Brennan. W.J.
Legal topics: Libel, Actual malice, First and Fourteenth Amendments
Posture of the case: The case was forwarded to the Supreme Court by the New York Times who made an appeal against a ruling made by the Alabama federal court to award L.B Sullivan damages in a libel action against the newspaper (FindLaw). According to the New York Times who was the petitioner, the federal court failed to meet the principles of the first amendments. The state cannot award libel damages to a public official for defamatory information related to his office unless actual malice is proved.

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