Novoselsky v. Brown, No. 15-1609 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Over the past decade, Attorney Novoselsky has filed many lawsuits alleging improprieties by Dorothy Brown, in her capacity as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Brown later made statements to private parties, the public, and the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee, accusing Novoselsky of being an unscrupulous attorney. Novoselsky sued Brown under state law for defamation and under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for First Amendment retaliation, and he sought to hold Cook County liable for Brown’s actions. Brown unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment, arguing that her communications are protected from liability by immunity. The Seventh Circuit reversed. On the state‐law defamation claim, Brown’s communications were all statements reasonably related to her official duties. Illinois state law provides immunity to Brown for claims based on these statements. Brown is also entitled to summary judgment on the First Amendment retaliation claim, for all she did to retaliate was criticize Novoselsky, so Cook County is also entitled to summary judgment.