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Gary Blackman quoted in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article, Lawyer sues media for saying Pippen declared bankruptcy

December 16, 2011

Gary Blackman, a partner and head of the firm's Litigation Practice Group, was quoted in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on December 16, 2011. In the article, "Lawyer sues media for saying Pippen declared bankruptcy," Blackman gives his opinions on the case as well as the arguments made by Scottie Pippen's attorney, Arthur Gold.

On behalf of Pippen, Gold recently filed a defamation suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for libel against 10 media outlets who had claimed the former Chicago Bulls player had filed for bankruptcy. Gold is arguing that contrary to these reports, Pippen has maintained a substantial net worth and that the false bankruptcy allegations have hurt his business interests.

Local lawyers said having to prove media reports to be willfully negligent makes defamation cases tough to win, but that Pippen's argument could hold up in court and lead to a possible settlement.

"There's little doubt in my opinion that if people think he's filed bankruptcy that would be harmful to his reputation, and maybe harmful to conduct business," Blackman said. Blackman said knowing how much media outlets researched Pippen's finances before publishing their stories will be important in deciding whether they were willfully negligent.

"Given the way social media outlets are working, it could be that a lot of those media outlets didn't do any due diligence because they're just picking up other stories," Blackman said. "It goes viral in a sense."

Defamation cases often settle out of court because of the difficulty in proving what members of the media knew or intended before publishing a story, he said. "Most of these cases get settled because it's not in the best interest of the plaintiff, in this case Pippen, to have a public trial about something that he doesn't believe is true," said Blackman.

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