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Brannock Humphries & Berman Wins Favorable Written Ruling Denying Certiorari Petition

The Second District Court of Appeal has denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed in a tortious interference lawsuit brought by a Collier County charter school against a former member of the school’s board of directors.

The lawsuit arises from public and private complaints about the school made by the former director. The complaints, which the school vigorously disputed, were partially directed to the Collier County School District and to a private out-of-state institution that had a contractual relationship with the charter school. That institution later terminated its contract with the school. As a result, the school sued the former director, claiming that he tortiously interfered with the school’s contracts with the School District and the out-of-state institution.

The former director moved to dismiss the school’s lawsuit, arguing that it was a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”). Florida has an anti-SLAPP law that prohibits retaliatory lawsuits based on the exercise of First Amendment rights. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the former director did not show that the lawsuit was primarily based on the exercise of his First Amendment rights. The former director then sought immediate appellate review of that ruling in the Second District.

Brannock Humphries & Berman represented the school on appeal, filing a written response and presenting oral argument before the panel of three judges. Ultimately, the Second District decided that, while it could consider the former director’s petition, the trial court correctly denied the motion to dismiss.  This means that the school can now move forward with its claims.