The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
A correct conclusion, I believe, by Judge James H. Earp (Florida, Brevard County), in Arcadier v. Lunden; the plaintiff, a lawyer representing himself (Maurice Arcadier of Arcadier Biggie & Wood), seems to have had a pretty weak case:
THIS CAUSE came before the Court on Monday, December 16, 2019 on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. The Court having reviewed the Motion, having heard argument of counsel, and having otherwise fully considered the matter, finds as follows:
[1.] Plaintiffs filed an eight (8) count complaint alleging defamation and defamation per se against the Defendants, Kenneth Lunden, individually, and Cocoa Village Marina Boaters Association, Inc., d/b/a Cocoa Village Marina.
[2.] The alleged defamatory statement was posted on the internet in a Google review and stated in its entirety: "Watch out for Maury Arcadier, he has a very bad temper." In addition, the Plaintiffs alleged that the author of the statement gave Mr. Arcadier and his law firm a one (1) star rating.
[3.] The alleged defamatory statements, including the one (1) star rating, are not actionable as a matter of law because they are expressions of pure opinion protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.