Legal Topics

Defamation — Privilege — Qualified — False police report — Speech — Prior restraint

Jan 09th, 2021 in by admin

Defamation — Privilege — Qualified — False police report — Speech — Prior restraint — Contractor’s counterclaim against homeowner who had sued contractor for breach of contract and who purportedly falsely claimed in various written complaints that contractor changed contractual terms, stole homeowner’s deposit, failed to communicate with homeowner, and failed to do the work required by contract — Trial court erred in concluding that statements were protected by qualified privilege where homeowner never raised or argued defense that statements made by her were privileged — Further, homeowner failed to establish entitlement to privilege as matter of law where she failed to offer proof that she acted in good faith, and trial court’s findings that homeowner made undeniably false statements about contractor refute any claim of good faith — Remand to enter judgment for contractor on defamation count — Filing false police report — Trial court did not err in construing homeowner’s objections regarding police report to be a challenge to report’s authenticity and in excluding report on grounds that contractor failed to establish authenticity — Injunctions — Prior restraint on speech — Trial court did not err in denying request for injunction requiring homeowner to remove defamatory comments from online reviews regarding contractor — Generally, injunctive relief is not available to prohibit defamatory speech, and contractor did not allege that defamatory comments fell within exception for statements made in furtherance of commission of another independent tort