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ProveMyFloridaCase.com > Posts tagged "defamation"

Absolute Immunity Protects Public Officials from Defamation

Thinking about suing a public official for defamation?  Think twice (or three or four times) before doing so.  Public officials acting within the scope of their duties enjoy absolute immunity from statements they make.  Stated differently, they are absolutely immune from a defamation lawsuit.    In Quintero v. Diaz, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D51b (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), a former Director of Parks and Recreation for a city sued the Mayor of that City for defamation per se based on public defamatory statements contained in a termination letter.  The parties stipulated that the Mayor was acting within the scope of his...

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Pre-Suit Notice Condition Precedent Requirement before Suing News Media for Defamation Not Extended to Books and Movies

Florida Statute s. 770.01 contains a pre-suit notice condition precedent requirement before a person can sue the news media for defamation.  It provides: Before any civil action is brought for publication or broadcast, in a newspaper, periodical, or other medium, of a libel or slander, the plaintiff shall, at least 5 days before instituting such action, serve notice in writing on the defendant, specifying the article or broadcast and the statements therein which he or she alleges to be false and defamatory.  In a recent opinion, Mazur v. Baraya, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1795b (Fla. 2d DCA 2019), the issue was whether...

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Asserting Basis for Punitive Damages against Corporate Entity

A defamation claim can serve as a basis to amend a complaint to add punitive damages.   From prior articles (here or here) you know that asserting a basis for punitive damages is not made as of the date the lawsuit is filed.  Rather, a plaintiff must comply with the statutory, procedural requirements and move to amend to assert punitive damages by proffering evidence that there is “a reasonable showing by evidence in the record…which would provide a reasonable basis for recovery of such damages.”  Fla. Stat. s. 768.72(1).   There are times a plaintiff wants to attribute an employee’s defamation of character to...

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Defamation Per Se Opens Door for Punitive Damages

A defamation per se action opens the door for punitive damages even if actual damages cannot be shown or proven.  Lawnwood Medical Center, Inc. v. Sadow, 43 So.3d 710, 729 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).   This is because malice is presumed and, thus, the statements are presumed harmful as a matter of law.  Id.  However, “proof of liability for defamation per se requires a showing that the declarant knew or should have known the defamatory statement was not true.”  Tilton v. Wrobel, 198 So.3d 909 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).  Hence, while a claimant may not be able to prove actual damages...

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