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ProveMyFloridaCase.com > Posts tagged "defamation"

Venue for Defamatory Social Media Post

A defamatory social media post can lead to…you guessed it…a defamation claim asserted against the author of the post.   Think about this the next time you post something on social media for the world to see.  Once you post something on social media, there are many persons that receive and read the post. A question becomes where is the right venue to sue someone for a defamatory social media posting.   The recent decision in Lowery v. McBee, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1337b (Fla. 4th DCA 2021) answered this question.  In this case, the plaintiff sued the defendant for posting a defamatory post on...

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A Defamation Claim of a Public Figure

Stating a defamation claim of a public figure is different and more rigorous than stating a defamation claim of a private figure. Florida employs a two-step process to determine if a person is a public figure: “First, the court must determine whether there is a public controversy. Second, the court must…determine whether the plaintiff played a sufficiently central role in the instant controversy to be considered a public figure for purposes of that controversy.” Reardon v. WPLG, LLC, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D836a, n.1 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021) (internal quotations and citations omitted). To assert a claim for defamation of a public figure, a...

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Moving for a Remittitur to Reduce Jury’s Verdict

When a damages verdict comes in high for a plaintiff, it is not uncommon for a defendant to move for a remittitur for the trial judge to reduce the amount of damages arguing that the verdict is unreasonably excessive.   A motion for remittitur is a motion to reduce the jury's verdict award. Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in Fernalld v. ABB, Inc., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D542a (Fla. 4th DCA 2021) explained: When considering a motion for remittitur, the court must determine whether the amount of a damages award “is excessive . . . in light of the facts and circumstances which...

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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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