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. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]