Pendleton v. NewsomeAnnotate this Case
A seven-year-old first grade student died at school as a result of a severe allergic reaction to a peanut provided to her by a classmate. The tragic death of the child received widespread publicity in local, national, and international news reports that contained many statements and comments made by Defendants, several school and county health department officials. Plaintiff, the student’s mother, brought this action claiming that Defendants’ statements were maliciously designed to divert public indignation from the failures of Defendants to exercise proper care for the child by falsely implying and insinuating that Plaintiff bore responsibility for the death of her child. The circuit court sustained Defendants’ demurrer and dismissed the complaint without leave to amend. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that complaint set forth facts that, if taken as true, were sufficient to support a cause of action for defamation.