A Win For Bloggers’ Freedom Of Speech (And Me)
On May 31, 2011, an article titled, “Howard Kusnick Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud” was published on this website. The article stated that Howard Kusnick was a principal at baseball agency, Double Diamond Sports Management. Later that day, Double Diamond’s counsel, Gregory & Clark, PLLC, sent a “Libel Letter/Take Down Notice” to me, requesting that the article be taken down, based on what they perceived to be inaccuracies reported by me.
On June 3, 2011, the article was taken down after multiple threats made by Double Diamond’s counsel. On August 30, 2011, Double Diamond filed suit against me, SportsAgentBlog.com, and Dynasty Athlete Representation, LLC (which is now Dynasty Dealings, LLC) alleging that I committed Libel, Conspiracy to Defame by Libel, Tortious Interference with Business Relationships, and Conspiracy to Interfere with Business Relationships. Further, the Complaint also included a Count for Injunctive Relief, requesting that the court enter an Order enjoining and prohibiting me from making future defamatory, libelous, slanderous, and/or disparaging statements, even though it was clear that the request amounted to a prior restraint on free expression and that equity will not enjoin either an actual or a threatened defamation.
Thereafter, I filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, which was granted by the court. I also filed a Florida Statute 57.105 motion seeking attorneys fees and costs based on the filing of a frivolous lawsuit. I then filed a my own Complaint against Double Diamond Sports Management, Inc., its principal Joshua Kusnick, Gregory & Clark, PLLC, and Jonathan J.A. Paul (a lawyer at Gregory & Clark, PLLC) for abuse of process, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, seeking an award in excess of $300,000.00. Joshua Kusnick had also filed a Bar Complaint against me with The Florida Bar, which was subsequently denied.
As of this morning, I have reached a settlement with Double Diamond Sports Management, Joshua Kusnick, Gregory & Clark, PLLC, and Jonathan J.A. Paul, whereby Gregory & Clark, PLLC has paid me an undisclosed amount of money (such terms are to remain confidential). Both of the aforementioned cases will be dismissed with prejudice.
This is a big victory for not just me, but also for bloggers who are constantly threatened with defamation-based lawsuits. While bloggers need to always be concerned that they accurately report their stories and do as much research as possible on the subjects being covered, oftentimes potential litigants will make threats to sue when they have no leg to stand on. My case shows that with competent legal representation, such a lawsuit, if filed, can actually be used against the filing plaintiff(s).