Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

U.S. Supreme Court won't review dismissal of $10.1 million libel verdict against Times Publishing Co.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to review a libel case against the Times Publishing Co., effectively ending the case in the company's favor.

The appeal was filed by attorneys for Dr. Harold L. Kennedy. He sued the publisher of the Tampa Bay Times over three articles written in 2003 about his reassignment from chief of medicine at Bay Pines VA Medical Center to his subspecialty of cardiology.

The articles were written by Times staff writer Paul de la Garza, who died of a heart attack in 2006 at age 44.

"Paul de la Garza was an extraordinary reporter," said Times attorney Alison Steele. "The Times and I have been honored to defend him."

Kennedy filed suit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court in 2005, arguing that portions of the articles were false and that the newspaper knew or should have known they were false.

But the Times argued at trial, and throughout the appeals process, that the articles were accurate.

In 2009, a jury sided with Kennedy and awarded him $10.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The Times appealed and has prevailed at every level since then.

In 2010, the trial judge, Circuit Judge Anthony Rondolino, threw out the jury's verdict and $10.1 million judgment because the plaintiff's evidence was "insufficient to cross the threshold required by the First Amendment."

Last year, the 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld Rondolino's ruling without comment. Then, in January, the doctor's attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, which the justices declined to do.

"It was unfortunate that they didn't accept the case," said Timothy Weber, the attorney for Kennedy.

Comments
Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as

Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as "positive" and "smiling"

TRINITY — Friends said they will remember Lillia Morris, who was killed Tuesday in a car crash, as always smiling.Morris, 17, was killed after a 2008 Chevrolet SUV ran a red light and slammed into her car at State Road 54 and Duck Slough Boulevard.Ka...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Watch: Pasco SRO under investigation after takedown of student

Watch: Pasco SRO under investigation after takedown of student

The video, which surfaced on Twitter and was later released by the Sheriff’s Office, shows the officer grabbing the student by the arm in the cafeteria, then taking her to the ground.Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco identified the officer Wednesday a...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough

Armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough

PLANT CITY — Multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for an armed man who may be responsible for a string of Wednesday morning carjackings, including one that involved gunfire, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The man was...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Springstead baseball isn’t easing into districts

Springstead baseball isn’t easing into districts

SPRING HILL — With the high school baseball regular season ending this week, some teams like to dial down their schedule in preparation for district play.Springstead is more than happy to be doing the opposite. With two games against HomeTeam t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A bittersweet farewell for Rams baseball

A bittersweet farewell for Rams baseball

NEW PORT RICHEY — This week alone, Larry Beets has bid farewell to two longtime homes.He and wife Donna, who are transitioning to a villa at Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club, are completing the sale of the Hudson house they shared for nearly a hal...
Updated: 1 hour ago
UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

ORLANDO — A University of Central Florida student from Hillsborough County and a fellow fraternity member face charges after they were accused of raping a woman at a party.That fraternity has since been placed on interim suspension.Orange County Sher...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago