In the fall of 1885 two libel suits against The Minneapolis Daily Tribune were tried to juries in Hennepin County District Court.
The first arose out of an interview with Mrs. Eleanor Leppla, who was being sued of divorce by her husband John. The Tribune not only paraphrased inflammatory passages from the Answer she filed in District Court but also quoted remarks about John made during a follow-up interview. The second case arose when a Tribune reporter mixed up the names of a man who was arrested for theft and the man who filed criminal charges against him.
In blistering editorials following the completion of each case, the Tribune criticized lawyers who brought libel actions against newspapers "on shares." Both plaintiffs were represented by Thomas Canty, a future Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. In a combative "Letter to the Editor" of the Tribune at the end of December, Canty denounces the newspaper, defends his conduct and characterizes himself as a "poor and humble lawyer." (As Court historians well know, Tom Canty was anything but humble.)