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Galloway Pensacola Attorney Achieves Favorable Summary Judgment in a Defamation Case by Proving Lack of Provable Harm to the Plaintiff

In an example of the approach trial courts are encouraged to take under Florida’s new summary judgment standard, Pensacola attorney Austin Moretz recently achieved summary judgment in favor of a defendant in Florida’s First Judicial Circuit.

In a case that spanned more than five years, the plaintiff alleged that one of the co-defendants made defamatory statements against him, which were republished via email by Galloway’s client. The defendants’ request for summary judgment was ultimately granted and resulted in a ruling entirely in favor of both defendants.

As stated in the court ruling, “Defamation has the following five elements: (1) publication; (2) falsity; (3) actor must act with knowledge or reckless disregard as to the falsity on a matter concerning a public official, or at least negligently on a matter concerning a private person; (4) actual damages; and (5) statement must be defamatory.” Jews For Jesus, Inc. v. Rapp, 997 So. 2d 1098, 1106 (Fla. 2008).

In granting our motion for summary judgment and ruling in our client’s favor, the Court agreed that the plaintiff failed to establish a key requirement of his defamation claim – that he had sustained any actual, provable damages.

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