(CN) - A Canadian developer cannot block his ex-girlfriend from making allegedly defamatory statements about him online and in her book, a Florida appeals court ruled.
Years after their romantic relationship ended, Lorne Leibel sued Michelle Vrasic for defamation, cyberstalking and invasion of privacy.
Leibel claimed that Vrasic had set up a website, using his name, to pre-sell her book and to publish an allegedly defamatory excerpt of the work.
He also accused Vrasic of having hacked his email to send his contact list offensive letters and a naked photo of him.
A judge in Broward County, Fla., granted Leibel injunctive relief, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed last week, citing prior restraint of speech.
The only portion of the restraining order left intact after the appeal is the "no-contact" provision.
"The instant case involves neither a claim for tortious interference with a business relationship nor a claim of specialized harm," Judge W. Matthew Stevenson wrote for a four-judge panel. "Indeed, in issuing the temporary injunction, the lower court expressly found that while Leibel had suffered embarrassment and emotional distress - the same harm suffered by all who are subjects of defamatory statements - there was no evidence that he had been 'shunned by society' or had suffered any business or financial losses."