Court revives Jeff Greene's suit against the Times

Published Jan. 16, 2014

MIAMI — A Florida appeals court has revived a libel lawsuit filed against two newspapers by billionaire and former U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene.

The Third District Court of Appeal expressed no opinion in its ruling Wednesday about whether Greene would ultimately prevail. The judges decided a lower court was wrong in 2012 to dismiss the case at an early stage and ordered proceedings to resume.

Greene sued the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald over articles concerning his role in a Mojave Desert condominium complex and allegations of partying aboard his yacht. A circuit judge ruled that as a 2010 Senate candidate Greene was a public figure and failed to show the stories were reckless.

Greene lost the Democratic primary to Kendrick Meek, who was defeated by Republican Marco Rubio.

"Really, all this says is that we're back to square one," said lawyer Alison Steele, who represents the Times. "We're disappointed the appellate court didn't see it the same way the trial court did. But the Times has great confidence in its reporters, its editors and its news stories."