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Florida Third DCA rules that defendants in defamation action were entitled to absolute litigation privilege for the allegedly defamatory disclosure of bar complaint against plaintiffs as an attachment to a pleading in a separate replevin action

On December 23, 2020, in Gursky Ragan, P.A. v. Association of Poinciana Villages, Inc., No. 3D19-0696, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a trial court summary judgment in favor of the defendant homeowner’s association in defamation action filed by two attorneys against the defendant.  The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant defamed them by publishing a bar complaint that had been filed against them by including it as an attachment to a pleading in a separate replevin action.  The Third DCA stated that defamatory statements are absolutely privileged when they are (1) published in the course of judicial proceedings and (2) bear some relation to or connection with the subject of inquiry, citing in support DelMonico v. Traynor, 116 So. 3d 1205, 1211 (Fla. 2013). The Third DCA noted that Florida courts have applied a broad standard in determining whether a statement bears some relation or connection with the subject inquiry.