• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court extended the application of the actual malice rule in libel cases to false-light privacy actions.

An article in Life magazine contained inaccurate information about the Hill family, whose experiences while held in their own home by convicted criminals had been portrayed in a Broadway play. The Hill family sued the magazine’s publisher, Time, Inc., for invasion of privacy under a New York law. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.,Brennan, William J., Jr.;Time v. Hill[Time v. Hill] writing for a 5-4 member majority, held that the magazine and its publisher were not liable for a libel judgment because a public figure failed to prove the necessary condition that the magazine had acted out of actual malice or a reckless disregard of the truth. Justices Hugo L. Black and William O. Douglas concurred. Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justices Abe Fortas and Tom C. Clark dissented. Justice John Marshall Harlan dissented in part and concurred in part. In Gertz v. Robert Welch[case]Gertz v. Robert Welch[Gertz v. Robert Welch] (1974), however, the Court ruled that private people did not have to prove actual malice to recover damages even if matters of public interest were involved. This ruling made the impact of Time v. Hill less clear.Actual maliceLibel;Time v. Hill[Time v. Hill]Actual malice

First Amendment

Garrison v. Louisiana

Gertz v. Robert Welch


Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co.

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

Prior restraint

Categories: History