If At First You Fail In Suing A Blogger For Defamation Over His Description Of You Shooting Two Dogs, Try, Try Again
from the double-jeopardy dept
Either way, despite the video, Comins ended up being acquitted of the shooting, with the judge claiming that shooting a couple dogs at extremely close range was not torturing an animal. As the link in this paragraph notes, it seems like that's the kind of question a jury should answer, rather than a judge.
As for VanVoorhis, it turns out that the case against him was also shot down, but on specific procedural grounds. Basically, under Florida law, you have to provide specific notice before suing for defamation. VanVoorhis insists no such notification was given. Cumins insists that it was but there was a procedural mistake in letting the court know. Either way, the court granted summary judgment, solely on that issue, rather than discussing any of the free speech issues.
VanVoorhis, represented by Randazza Legal Group (whose cases we seem to write about a lot around here...), followed up by pushing for sanctions, claiming that Comins' lawyer falsely told the court that VanVoorhis had been notified under the law. That motion was denied, though apparently the court called it "a very, very close call."
Comins... in response, appears to have simply filed a new defamation lawsuit against VanVoorhis, using statements from the blog that VanVoorhis set up to cover stories related to the lawsuit itself. I have no idea if the statements in question are actually libelous (though, the bar for defaming a public person, like Comins, is substantially higher than someone else). But, either way, I do question the wisdom of suing yet again, especially suing someone to whom he already lost a lawsuit. It certainly feels like just another attempt to effectively retry the same lawsuit, which still has the feel of a SLAPP. It's just that Comins and his lawyer found different quotes to use.
Of course, every time Comins takes action like this, it just brings the original video and the original story back into the spotlight. I can't see how that helps his image at all. One of the things in defamation cases is that you're supposed to try to take actions to minimize the damages. Suing yet again doesn't seem likely to do that.