Injunction Against Defamation

Murtagh v. Hurley, ___ So. 3d ___, 35 Fla. L. Weekly D1481 (Fla. 2d DCA 7/7/10)

The trial court erred in ruling, as a matter of law, that a doctor may not obtain an injunction to preclude a former patient from defaming him and damaging his practice.  “[I]f [the doctor] presented ‘proof to a reasonable certainty of the cause of action stated in the complaint,’ then he would have established a clear legal right to injunctive relief . . . .”  The doctor was not entitled to an injunction as a matter of fact because he “did not present any evidence that demonstrated or would allow an inference that [the former patient’s] conduct ‘had a deleterious effect on’ [the doctor’s] business.  Instead, [the doctor] presented evidence as to statements made by [the former patient] and [the doctor’s] opinion that these statements ‘crossed the line’ and ‘influenced’ the patients.”  The doctor could not rely on the unsworn allegations in this complaint that he lost patients and income because of the defendant’s conduct.