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Here's a scary thought: an individual, unhappy with negative statements that have been made about him, sues for defamation and persuades the trial court to issue an injunction prohibiting the speaker from engaging in that speech again. An appellate court reviews the injunction and, in large measure, upholds it. This creepy scenario brings shudders to free speech and media advocates, who have long viewed such injunctions as prior restraints that the First Amendment forbids in all but the most extreme and extraordinary cases. As a recent decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals demonstrates, however, decades of United States Supreme Court opinions strongly condemning prior restraints have failed to drive a stake through the heart of injunctions in libel cases.


2014, Published in Communications Lawyer 30, no. 4, Fall (2014), by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association