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Another anonymous speech win – Krinsky v. Doe

In Krinsky v. Doe, the California Court of Appeals examined two issues that are near and dear to me — the right of internet speakers to remain anonymous, should they so please, and whether rhetorical hyperbole is grounds for a defamation action in Florida. (The court applied Florida law).

We thus conclude that Doe 6’s online messages, while unquestionably offensive and demeaning to plaintiff, did not constitute assertions of actual fact and therefore were not actionable under Florida’s defamation law. Because plaintiff stated no viable cause of action that overcame Doe 6’s First Amendment right to speak anonymously, the subpoena to discover his identity should have been quashed.

It is unfortunate that a California court understands Florida defamation law better than most Florida trial judges.

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