Defamation, Privacy and First Amendment

Our attorneys have earned national recognition representing individuals, businesses, and media entities in defamation, libel, slander, privacy and First Amendment cases in Chicago and across the country. Our clients include physicians, attorneys and law firms, business leaders and their companies, labor union officers and local unions, professional athletes, and not-for-profit corporations. We zealously protect and defend our clients’ First Amendment rights and their hard-earned reputations.

We also help clients efficiently minimize risk through pre-publication review, advising them on content issues, and consideration of alternatives to litigation. When litigation is necessary, we zealously represent our clients in defamation, privacy and other speech cases, including in trials, appeals and mediation. We look at the big picture and provide informed, practical advice based upon years of experience. When false and defamatory speech occurs online, including through social media posts, we help our clients strategically assess the issues and have initiated proceedings, when necessary, to discover the identities of anonymous online posters.

Our attorneys’ experience litigating defamation, libel, slander, privacy and First Amendment cases includes:

  • Defending an on-line celebrity news tabloid regarding statements published about a reality TV show participant and obtaining an award of attorneys’ fees as a sanction following the dismissal of the lawsuit with prejudice.
  • Representing a professional athlete in trial, appellate, and state supreme courts against a radio “shock jock”, his on-air side-kick, and the station owner for false on-air statements, resulting in an optimal settlement shortly prior to trial.
  • Defending multiple cases filed against a not-for-profit corporation for statements published in a book about Chicago street gangs, resulting in the dismissal of defamation per se and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims with prejudice.
  • Successful defense of client through jury verdict against a sattelite television content distributor’s $21 million defamation claim against a content provider.
  • Defending a local union officer’s union election campaign speech critical of a political rival, resulting in the dismissal of the case with prejudice.
  • Representation of private citizens and businesses in First Amendment challenges to municipal ordinances restricting commercial speech and political speech.
  • Defending a law firm in state trial and appellate courts regarding media statements that a U.S. Senator’s campaign treasurer was “fired for incompetence.” The case was dismissed with prejudice and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal.
  • Representing a prominent criminal defense attorney in trial, appellate and state supreme courts where a nationally distributed book published that he paid bribes to “fix” and “handle” criminal cases.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict for compensatory and punitive damages for a labor union president for false statements made during a union election campaign.
  • Obtaining a defense verdict in a jury trial regarding alleged statements that the plaintiff, a former government official, extorted kickbacks from  local businesses.


Please e-mail Phil Zisook or call 312.648.2300.