A state appeals court Wednesday ruled that former U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene can pursue a libel suit against the parent companies of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald about reports involving real-estate dealings and parties on his yacht.
A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami reversed decisions in 2012 by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Valerie Manno Schurr dismissing the case. The appeals court found that Greene’s complaint “states a legally sufficient cause of action” against the Times Publishing Co., the Miami Herald Media Co. and three reporters.
“We express no opinion regarding the accuracy of Greene’s allegations and his ability to prove them,” wrote Judge Vance Salter, who was joined by Chief Judge Frank Shepherd and Judge Leslie Rothenberg. “We simply hold that, at the preliminary point of assessing the legal sufficiency of the complaint and attachments, Greene has adequately detailed a cause of action for libel as to each article and each defendant.”
The newspaper reports were published in 2010 as Greene, a wealthy businessman, sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. He lost the primary to former U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.
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Two of the reports stemmed from a California real-estate deal and mortgage-fraud charges against another businessman involved in the transaction. The other report focused on allegedly raucous parties on Greene’s yacht that involved former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.