Lemley and Rettberg Win First Amendment Retaliation Appeal

Attorneys: Lemley, Brandon K.    Rettberg, Paul A.

Related Practices: Defense of Civil Rights Claims    Litigation    Appellate


June 5, 2014

“Legislators have an absolute right to speak their mind from the legislative floor.” 

Relying on this basic concept - sometimes called the “legislative privilege” - Querrey & Harrow Chicago office shareholders Brandon Lemley and Paul Rettberg convinced the Illinois Second District Court of Appeals to affirm the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that a north suburban Alderman injured the plaintiff when he expressed his disappointment in her litigiousness during a City Council meeting. 

The Complaint alleged that the alderman’s statement amounted to unlawful First Amendment retaliation for her having accessed the Courts, defamation, false light invasion of privacy and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and sought $500,000 in compensatory damages and $2,000,000 in punitive damages. Rejecting each of her arguments, the Appellate Court “decline[d] plaintiff’s invitation to effectively gut [the] legislative privilege.”  See Friedman v. Moore, 2014 IL App (2d) 130671-U (May 21, 2014).

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