Appellate Court Holds That Lawsuit Filed by SFBBG Should Proceed and Is Not a SLAPP Suit

On May 8, 2023, SFBBG attorneys Phil Zisook and Bill Klein prevailed in an Illinois Appellate Court defamation case, Mauro Glorioso v Sun-Times Media Holdings, LLC, and Tim Novak. In the case, Zisook and Klein argued that Sun-Times’ articles defamed Mauro Glorioso and constituted false light invasion of privacy. The articles published that Glorioso, the former Chairman and Executive Director of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (“PTAB”), participated in and directed an improper scheme to reduce real estate tax assessments concerning Chicago’s Trump Tower for purely political purposes. The articles further reported that Glorioso was accused of doing so in an anonymous complaint before the Office of Executive Inspector General. The anonymous complaint was later determined to be unfounded.

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendants’ motions to dismiss, motion for reconsideration, and special motion to dismiss pursuant to the Illinois Citizen Participation Act and rejected the defendants’ argument that Glorioso’s lawsuit constituted an impermissible “SLAPP” suit. The appellate court found that the defendants failed to demonstrate that Glorioso’s lawsuit was solely based on defendants’ exercise of speech in furtherance of the right to participate in government or obtain favorable governmental action. The court similarly found that defendants failed to show that Glorioso’s Complaint lacked merit as required for a SLAPP suit and similarly failed to show that the articles’ statements were substantially true, were reasonably capable of an innocent construction, or were protected by the fair report privilege. In addition, the defendants failed to show that the Complaint was filed in retaliation for speech protected by the Citizen Participation Act. The court remanded the case to proceed in the trial court.

A copy of the court’s official decision can be found here.

For more information, please contact an attorney at SFBBG

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