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Galvin v. Gallagher

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 28, 1980.

BRIAN GALVIN ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

GERTRUDE GALLAGHER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL P. COMAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This action was commenced when a complaint was filed in the circuit court of Cook County, alleging libel and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress as the result of a newspaper article written and published by defendants. The trial court dismissed count I of the complaint and granted leave to amend count II. Plaintiffs amended count II of the complaint, and after a hearing the trial court dismissed count II. Plaintiffs appeal the orders dismissing counts I and II of their complaint. We affirm the trial court rulings.

The issues presented for review are (1) whether count I of the complaint stated a cause of action for libel, and (2) whether count II of the amended complaint stated a cause of action for intentional infliction of severe emotional distress.

On March 12, 1975, a newspaper article was written and published by the defendants, Gertrude Gallagher and Cresent Newspapers, Inc., in the Orland Park Herald. The article stated:

"Parent should be `a real person'

By GERTRUDE GALLAGHER

Once again it has happened.

One of our area teenagers died last week of a drug overdose. A senior in a local public high school he was found dead in his bed by his mother when she returned home in the afternoon.

I knew him as a little boy. A happy-go-lucky child. Shoelaces trailing in the mud but always a smile on his face and a cheerful `Hi, Mrs. Gallagher' for me.

He came from a well-to-do family in an exclusive section of homes. He seemed to have everything — swimming pool, guitars, you name it.

He also came from a broken home.

Heavy drug abuse among young people seems to be found where the family circle is fractured. It happens too often to be coincidental. Of seven cases of serious drug abuse among teens of which I have personal knowledge, all but one of the children came from homes where the parents were either divorced or separated.

Adolescence is a hard stage of life at best. Feelings of insecurity, ineffectiveness and inability make life a misery for a teenager. He goes from depression to exhilaration to depression again, even in normal circumstances. He's trying to grow up and be free, but at the same time he's fearful of the responsibility. He's a mixed up human who has a lot of growing to do even though he may be six feet tall.

And in this period of life when he most needs a steady rock to cling to, he finds a nest of domestic problems involving the very people who should be there to ...


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