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Amendment 1 - Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption:

What does it do?  Some homeowners will save a few hundred dollars on their property taxes.  M...

Understanding Florida’s 2018 Amendments

October 24, 2018

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Fraudulent DMCA Takedowns Cost Reputation Firm Thousands

Techdirt.com reports this week on attorneys Paul Alan Levy and Eugene Volokh’s success in countering an emergent fraudulent practice in reputation management and online defamation.  Reputation Management firm Profile Defenders had been filing bogus libel lawsuits against fake defendants and using fake affidavits to secure court orders requiring Google to delist URLs of allegedly defamatory websites.  By ignoring basic constitutional concepts of due process (which requires notice and procedural safe guards to civil defendants) the firm could unlawfully censor online comments and scare consumers into compliance through carefully crafted fake lawsuits.

 

After successfully contesting the Court's initial injunctive order and engaging in preliminary discovery, Levy and Volokh used the threat of anti-Slapp[1] statutory penalties[2] to force an early settlement over the fraudulent practices of Profile Defenders in filing these bogus lawsuits through shell entities.  Mr. Levy’s well written, blow-by-blow account of the case can be found on his blog at Public Citizen, a non-profit dedicated to protecting consumer rights.

 

Florida’s own anti-Slapp statute is a powerful shield protecting the First Amendment rights of Florida citizens on the internet. 

 

[1] Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.  Slapp suits are designed such that the threat of an expensive lawsuit will scare economically weaker individuals or firms into settlement over cases that may have weak legal support.

 

[2] Florida’s anti-Slapp statute was passed in 2015 and is codified at 768.295, Fla. Stat.  The Statue make it "[t]he public policy of [Florida that] a person or governmental entity not engage in SLAPP suits because such actions are inconsistent with the right of persons to exercise such constitutional rights of free speech in connection with public issues" and sets civil penalties for persons or entities who bring suits with the intent of chilling free speech. 

 

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