Pissed Consumer has had its share of defamation cases filed against it. In many of those cases we were represented by Marc Randazza. Randazza just won a short, but important appellate court case in Florida involving the proper venue for a case to be brought.
In Comins v. VanVoorhis, Case No. 2009-CA-15047-O, Ninth Jud. Cir. of Orange County, Florida, Randazza's client wrote an article about a wealthy business man who shot someone's dogs, claiming that they were wolves. The individual who shot the dogs, Christopher Comins, filed a defamation suit against Randazza's client, which wound up being dismissed because he didn't give the defendant the proper pre-suit notice which is afforded to media defendants in Florida. Comins appealed that, and Randazza prevailed. Comins v. VanVoorhis, 135 So. 3d 545 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014). That case established that bloggers are “media defendants” in Florida.
Comins then decided to file yet another defamation suit over different statements in the articles. Comins v. VanVoorhis, Case No. 2011-CA-013931-O, Ninth Jud. Cir. of Orange County, Florida. He filed the suit in Orlando, but did not have any proof or allegation that anyone in Orlando ever read the articles. Therefore, Mr. VanVoorhis moved for a change of venue. The local Orlando court denied the request but Mr. VanVoorhis appealed to the 5th District Court of Appeals in Florida and the 5th DCA reversed and remanded. VanVoorhis v. Comins, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D 2694 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). Now the case will be moving up to Alachua County, where Mr. VanVoorhis was during the publication.
As the target of a lot of SLAPP suits, and a very recent one in Florida, Pissed Consumer is happy to see this decision, since it means that if we are sued, the plaintiff's counsel is going to have to file claims in the proper venue.