Illinois Supreme Court considering defamation case

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(The Center Square) – Two Illinois companies are facing off in the state’s highest court as the two sides argue over what is considered defamation.

The case, recently heard by the Illinois Supreme Court, involves two software companies, FourKites and Project 44, and emails sent between the companies that contained disparaging comments allegedly sent from FourKites to Project 44.

The case was heard before the appellate court previously, which decided in favor of Project 44.

Defamation by law is any false information that harms the reputation of a person, business or organization.

Scott Gilbert, who represents FourKites, said there was no harm done by FourKites sending the emails to their competitor.

“Two anonymous emails were sent to three members of P44 [Project 44] executive leadership team, one to its chief revenue officer and one to two members of its board of directors,” Gilbert said. “There is no evidence or even an allegation that P44 was actually damaged in any way as a result of these emails.”

Gilbert disagreed with the complaint that cites reputational harm.

“Eleven months passed between when the emails were sent and when the complaint was filed,” Gilbert said. “In that time, P44 can not identify any actual reputational harm, and we highlighted that fact in our brief to this court.”

Douglas Albritton, who represents Project 44, argued that FourKites’ actions qualify as defamation.

“This case is unusual because competitors do not usually act as FourKites did,” Albritton said.”FourKites tried to conceal its identity and used fictitious emails and actually published two defamatory per se email communications to two outside members, nonemployees, of Project 44’s board of directors and to a recently hired chief revenue officer.”

The Illinois Supreme Court took the case under advisement.

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