Where is venue proper when filing a defamation case?

In a newly decided District Court case, the court made a ruling impacting where venue is proper when filing a defamation case. If you are wondering, venue is defined as the proper place to have a civil or criminal trial because of important related events taking place in that location.

Published AND Accessed

This is the case of Lowery v. Mcbee decided on June 9, 2021. The Plaintiff here asserted libel against the Defendant from the Defendant’s alleged public Facebook post. This case was brought in Palm Beach County even though the Defendant was a resident of Martin County. The main argument and most important one of this case is that the Plaintiff argued that venue was proper in Palm Beach County because that was where the post was received and read by a third party.

On the other hand, the Defendant tried arguing that venue was proper where the libelous statement originated, in this case Martin County. However, the court rejected this argument. The court held that a tort accrues where a plaintiff first suffers an injury. The court held that “there was no ‘injury’ to Plaintiff until the allegedly defamatory Facebook post was published and accessed (received and read).” Therefore, no cause has accrued until the communication is accessed. The court also noted that no one should have more than one choice of venue for damagers for libel. 

Going forward, if you bring an action for libel, venue may be proper in the location where the post was published (received) and accessed (read). This is the ruling because the court reasoned that no injury occurs until a post is published and accessed as opposed to injury occurring when a post is originated. 

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Eric P. Gros-Dubois founded EPGD Business Law in 2013 and is the current head of the firm’s corporate, estate planning, and tax practice, and manages the firm’s Washington D.C. office. With a JD and MBA, and a specialization in finance, Eric is able to step back and view the legal world through a commercial lens while also acting as a trusted business advisor for his clients. He does his best to be solutions oriented, and tries to think like a business owner, not just a lawyer.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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