Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.

477 U.S. 242 (1986).


Anderson (D) published articles portraying Liberty Lobby (P) as a neo-Nazi organization. P sued for libel. D moved for a summary judgment; P was a public figure, and no actual malice could be shown. D moved for summary judgment on the grounds that P could not prove by clear and convincing evidence that D acted with malice. Clear and convincing evidence is the standard of proof for libel suits if the parties are public figures. D submitted affidavits from the author who wrote the articles documenting the research that was done prior to their writing and publication. P’s response consisted of showing numerous inaccuracies in the articles. The district court granted D's motion. The Court of Appeals reversed as to some of the statements holding that a jury could reasonably conclude that the allegations were made with actual malice but made no mention of the clear and convincing standard put forward by the district court. D appealed; the court's standard for granting the summary judgment was the establishment of malice by clear and convincing evidence. The court of appeals ruled that the standard was one of a reasonable jury. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.