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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

DJ’s On-Air Trashing of Ex Headed Back to Court

(CN) - A Florida radio station whose DJ disparaged his ex-girlfriend on the air must go back to court over her invasion of privacy claim, a state appellate court ruled.

The DJ worked for WRXK in Fort Myers, had dated Doe off and on over 20 years, and the couple had a child together. However, she took him to court over his comments on several broadcasts after their final breakup in 2005.

Beasley Broadcast Group, the station's parent company, won the first round in court on Doe's claim of false-light and unauthorized publication of name or likeness.

A five-day trial ensued on her remaining claims of invasion of privacy and negligence retention and supervision. Beasley won here as well on a directed verdict, as the court stated that Doe did not prove her damages.

However, Doe appealed the decision to the Lakeland-based Second District Florida Court of Appeals, which agreed with her that the trial court should not have directed the verdict on the invasion of privacy count.

Remanding the case for a new trial in an opinion written by Judge Robert Morris, the appeals court agreed with Doe that the Florida Supreme Court's 1945 opinion in Cason v. Baskin was controlling.

Morris' opinion also noted that Doe presented evidence that she suffered from anxiety, stress, humiliation and "a large rash and boil on her face, which left a residual scar."

"The court ruled that a 'vivid and intimate character sketch' published without the consent of the plaintiff was sufficient for a prima facie claim of invasion of privacy and 'would authorize the recovery of at least nominal damages," Morris wrote."Moreover, the court specifically held that a plaintiff in such an action does not 'have to allege or prove any special or pecuniary damages," he added.

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