Florida courts recognize a number of privileges and defenses in the context of defamation actions, including substantial truth, the opinion and fair comment privileges, the fair report privilege, and the wire service defense. The Florida Supreme Court has not explicitly recognized the neutral reportage privilege, but lower court cases have recognized it.
There also is an important provision under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that may protect you if a third party – not you or your employee or someone acting under your direction – posts something on your blog or website that is defamatory. We cover this protection in more detail in the section on Publishing the Statements and Content of Others.
Neutral Reportage Privilege
The Florida Supreme Court has not formally recognized the neutral reportage privilege, but there are indications that Florida would recognize it. Two lower court cases have endorsed the privilege. See Smith v. Taylor County Pub. Co., 443 So. 2d 1042, 1044 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); Huszar v. Gross, 468 So. 2d 512, 515 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985). Both cases recognized the privilege even in instances where the plaintiff is a private figure. The Court of Appeals for Florida's Third District spoke favorably of these cases. See Brake & Alignment Supply Corp. v. Post-Newsweek Stations of Florida, Inc, 472 So. 2d 517, 518 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1985).
Statute of Limitations for Defamation
Florida's statute of limitations for defamation is two (2) years. See Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(g).
Florida applies the single publication rule. See Fla. Stat. § 770.07. For a definition of the "single publication rule," see the Statute of Limitations for Defamation section.