Robert Clifford, a well-known personal injury lawyer in Chicago, warns that Illinois lawyers won’t be able to speak to the press about their own cases if an appellate decision against him is allowed to stand.

Clifford is being sued for defamation over a press release his firm issued in another case. In a petition to the Illinois Supreme Court, he asks the court to overturn the August appellate ruling based on his fair report privilege to discuss a public court filing without being liable for defamation. The Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, said Clifford lacked the privilege because his firm wrote the court filing that was the focus of the release. In essence, the court said, Clifford can’t confer the privilege on himself.

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