On appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County ">

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Date: 02-20-2022

Case Style:


Case Number: 20-0841

Judge: Alexander S. Bokor


Third District Court of Appeal State of Florida

On appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County

Plaintiff's Attorney: The Foodman Firm, P.A., and Daniel Foodman

Defendant's Attorney:

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Miami, FL - Defamation lawyer represented defendant with a stand-alone claim for defamation.

Notwithstanding a related civil action pending in circuit court between
the parties and an action pending in circuit court, family division, appellee,
Dr. Edy Amisial, filed a stand-alone claim for defamation. Despite not
seeking injunctive relief in the complaint, Dr. Amisial filed a motion seeking
emergency temporary injunctive relief to restrain appellant, Seissa
Belmondo, from further spreading or repeating certain allegedly defamatory
statements. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court entered an order
granting temporary injunctive relief in favor of Dr. Amisial and against
Belmondo, which Belmondo timely appeals.1
Here, Belmondo correctly notes that “Florida's courts have long held
that temporary injunctive relief is not available to prohibit the making of
defamatory or libelous statements.” Vrasic v. Leibel, 106 So. 3d 485, 486
(Fla. 4th DCA 2013). The remedy for defamatory statements lies in an action
at law for damages. Id. A limited exception exists where “the defamatory
words were made in the furtherance of the commission of another tort . . .
[and] . . . where the party demonstrates a special harm.” Id. at 487. In the
instant case, a review of the record, including the transcript of the hearing
1 We have jurisdiction. Fla. R. App. P. 9.130(a)(3)(B). We review the factual
findings under a competent, substantial evidence standard and the legal
basis for the issuance of an injunction under a de novo standard. Telemundo
Media, LLC. v. Mintz, 194 So. 3d 434, 435–36 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016).
before the trial judge, reveals no such finding of special harm, nor a basis
upon which such a finding could be made. At best, the record contains an
affidavit with a conclusory statement regarding the impact of the statements.
However, even ignoring the fundamental flaw of the complaint, which alleges
no separate tort upon which special damages could be based, the
conclusory allegation contained in the affidavit, without more, cannot form
the basis for special damages. Accordingly, absent a separate tort and a
finding of special harm supported by competent, substantial evidence, the
injunction on review constitutes an impermissible prior restraint on speech.2

Outcome: We therefore vacate the injunction, and reverse and remand with instructions
to deny the temporary injunction.

Reversed and remanded with instructions.

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