A Florida trial court has awarded Orlando television station WFTV its fees under Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute, which shifts fees to a defamation plaintiff when a meritless claim is based on a defendant’s exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue. Shullman Fugate represented WFTV in the suit.
In the suit, the Plaintiff claimed he was defamed in connection with a broadcast concerning a solar energy company. But his pre-suit notice did not specify the statements that Plaintiff claimed to be false and defamatory, so the Court found it insufficient to satisfy the condition precedent to suit. Because such defects cannot be cured by amendment and the statute of limitations had run, the Court dismissed the case with prejudice. It awarded WFTV its fees pursuant to Florida’s recently amended anti-SLAPP statute, finding that the lawsuit was without merit and arose out of WFTV’s exercise of its constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue because the news report was protected under applicable law. You can read the opinion here.