Unfunny Case May End in More Money for Comics
(CN) - A Florida comedy act that was enjoined from confronting a man with molestation allegations is entitled to more than $100 in attorney fees, a state appeals court ruled.
Stephen P. Spleen filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief against comedians Andrew Andrist and Douglas Stanhope, telling the court they planned to accuse him of child molestation.
In the court filing, Spleen said he learned of the defendants' intention after they announced on their Facebook and Twitter accounts that they planned to confront Spleen in his hotel room, and then show the video at their stand-up comedy show.
Spleen denied the accusations, and the trial court granted the injunction against the comedians, stopped them from publishing any information about Spleen or his lawsuit.
Nine days later, the comedians asked the court for a motion to dissolve the injunction. They detailed the molestation allegations and alleged that Spleen had admitted to them and apologized for them during the taped confrontation.
The trial court dissolved the injunction and awarded the defendants $100 in attorney fees.
The comedians appealed, arguing that they should be entitled to more than just the $100 bond money posted by Spleen. The Fourth District Florida Court of Appeals agreed.
"The defendants were not given notice of the request for a temporary injunction, and were deprived of the opportunity to prove a higher bond was warranted," Judge Melanie G. May wrote on behalf of the West Palm Beach-based court.
She added that the defendants acted diligently in seeking to dissolve the injunction and requesting damages.
"Because the injunction has been dissolved, the court need only conduct an evidentiary hearing to allow the defendants the opportunity to prove damages greater than the $100 awarded," May added.