Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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.

U.S. Supreme Court won't review dismissal of $10.1 million libel verdict against Times Publishing Co. 03/26/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 26, 2012 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'


    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco


    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game


    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?


    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]