Defamation Actions Against Non-Media Speakers and Publishers In Florida

In Nodar v. Galbreath, 462 So.2d 803 (Fla. 1984), the Florida Supreme Court held that if the First Amendment requires proof of negligence against the media, the common law should extend the same protection to all: "If common-law remedies for defamation are to be constitutionally restricted in actions against media defendants, they should also be restricted in actions against private, non-media speakers and publishers." Nodar, 462 So.2d at 808. Nodar was decided, however, on "common-law principles of qualified privilege," id., so it was unnecessary to decide "how the negligence standard applies in this case." Id. Pending further implementation in Florida of Nodar's dictum, or a decision that one's media status is not decisive, instruction 405.8 continues to distinguish media defendants, publishing on matters of public concern, from all other defendants; instruction 405.7 applies to public person claimants; and all other cases fall under instruction 405.9, which makes no reference to negligence.