Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Supreme Court of Florida Refuses To Recognize Tort of False Light

The Supreme Court of Florida has refused to recognize the tort of false light but has recognized defamation by implication, in the case of Jews for Jesus v. Rapp.

Because we conclude that false light is largely duplicative of existing torts, but without the attendant protections of the First Amendment, we decline to recognize the tort and answer the certified question in the negative. In declining to recognize false light, we resolve two additional issues raised by this case. First, we conclude that Florida recognizes a cause of action for defamation by implication. Second, we hold that a communication can be considered defamatory if it "prejudices" the plaintiff in the eyes of a "substantial and respectable minority of the community," as set forth in comment e of the Restatement (Second) of Torts ยง 559 (1972).

The case is Jews for Jesus v. Rapp, decided October 23, 2008.

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