This matter arose as a result of Defendant Farah Abid’s aggressive, nameless, and pervasive cyber-defamation marketing campaign towards Plaintiff Reiterman. The marketing campaign was remarkably intensive and forceful, in impact searching for to destroy Reiterman by portray him in essentially the most graphic phrases as a racist and serial rapist. The matter first arose out of a short private relationship between Reiterman and Abid. Over a 12 months after this relationship concluded, Abid reported Reiterman to native police and prosecutive authorities for sexual assault. These two places of work investigated, and closed their file with no motion, as did the Florida Legal professional Normal’s workplace. Thereafter, the cyber marketing campaign started, which evinced the disturbed thoughts of Defendant Abid.
The Courtroom needn’t right here define all the main points of this cyber marketing campaign. Suffice it to say, Farah Abid directed this cyber marketing campaign to destroy Reiterman’s tenure at legislation college, budding profession, and life. It was multi-faceted, intricate and intensive, sly, nameless, and horrible. Reiterman filed this lawsuit after Abid breached a previous court docket settlement during which she had agreed to cease this scheme, however then continued her cyber marketing campaign.
The operative grievance is discovered at docket 1. Abid consented to jurisdiction on this Courtroom by waiving service of course of, and showing on the deserves with in a position counsel. By way of her counsel, Abid moved to compel arbitration below the prior settlement. The Courtroom held an evidentiary listening to on this movement, the place Abid then lied below oath about her involvement and different materials points. The undersigned discovered that Abid lied below oath. The Courtroom held that she had novated the topic arbitration clause by way of her earlier statements and actions. Abid then took an attraction, which the Eleventh Circuit denied with a written opinion after oral argument. Reiterman v. Abid, 26 F.4th 1226 (eleventh Cir. 2022).
After the Eleventh Circuit returned jurisdiction to this Courtroom, Abid continued to litigate this go well with on the deserves by way of counsel, together with taking part in drafting a case administration order, attending a case administration convention, and submitting a solution and counterclaim on the deserves.
Then, maybe fearing ensuing discovery, Abid terminated her counsel, deserted this case solely together with her counterclaims, … knowledgeable everybody she is incommunicado[, and] … refused to take part on this lawsuit, together with a failure to reply or take part in discovery or reply to pleadings and motions.
On this lawsuit Reiterman now seeks abstract judgment on Counts 1 (fraudulent inducement of a previous settlement and rescission of identical); 2 (frequent legislation fraud); 4 (defamation per se); 5 (defamation per quod); 6 (tortious interference with advantageous industrial relationships); and seven (intentional infliction of emotional misery). Earlier than the Courtroom are the affidavits that Reiterman has equipped in help of this movement (together with his personal), in addition to prior testimony of witness Baughman taken on the arbitration listening to on this file, and intensive evidentiary supplies which aren’t disputed. Additionally on pertinent level, though supplemental and never obligatory, are the request for admissions that Plaintiff duly served on the Defendant, and which weren’t responded to in any approach, and thus admitted pursuant to Rule 36(a)(3). Likewise, the Courtroom twice warned Ms. Abid about Native Rule 3.01(c) (M.D. Fla.), which states that any substantive movement for which no response is filed is deemed unopposed. By not responding to the abstract judgment movement (even after the Courtroom warned her on the docket), Abid has rendered it unopposed below the native rule.
Ms. Abid’s refusal to litigate is purposeful and constant along with her malign, manipulative character proven on this file. When she discharged her counsel the file reveals she had an amiable relationship with him, and the Courtroom is aware of this lawyer to be an efficient and genial lawyer. However at the moment Abid determined to “disappear” and expressly declare herself incommunicado, not responding to any extra contact sought by her lawyer. She advised her lawyer when she discharged him that she would don’t have any cellphone or e-mail, and acknowledged she knew the Courtroom would want an e-mail deal with however she declined to offer one. She acknowledged, “I can now not be reached by cellphone or e-mail … I perceive the court docket will want an e-mail by way of which I might be reached, however I am unable to give you one as a result of I will not be reachable…. The file is evident that, now that it’s time to account for her actions, Ms. Abid is secreting herself and selecting to not take part additional, adopting an incommunicado standing.
The Courtroom has thought of the acquainted requirements for abstract judgment below Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). With the declarations and case supplies offered, Plaintiff has confirmed an affirmative, prima facie, certainly overwhelming case on this file in help of the movement for abstract judgment on every rely sought.
Defendant has failed, deliberately, to current any materials information (not to mention real ones) to point out that a problem of fabric reality exists to defeat any of those counts.
When Defendant did select to take part earlier within the case, she dedicated perjury. Plaintiff’s submissions each factually and by operation of Native Rule 3.01(c) are established. Accordingly, the Courtroom grants last abstract judgment to Plaintiff on Counts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and seven. The prior settlement settlement is rescinded as requested in Rely 1, and the Courtroom will think about damages under.
A tougher activity is discovering and apportioning damages on this scenario. This isn’t in contrast to a default scenario. The Courtroom is guided by the Eleventh Circuit’s teachings that “[d]amages could also be awarded provided that the file adequately displays that foundation for the award through a ‘listening to or an illustration by detailed affidavits establishing the required information.'” Usually, a court docket ought to decide there’s ample file proof to ascertain a sum sure or one able to mathematical calculation. Accordingly, the Courtroom will assessment this file and decide if damages for every respective rely are established below this normal.
As to Rely I, fraudulent inducement and recission of the prior settlement settlement, the uncontested information proven by Reiterman are that Abid induced the prior settlement fraudulently and brought on him to incur bills of two lawsuits and settlement. Damages for this that are a sum sure are a complete of $118,057.69 as established at docket 94, web page 18 and docket 94-2, paragraph 6. The damages for Rely 2, frequent legislation fraud, are similar to this quantity and aren’t duplicated right here.
Regarding defamation (Counts 4 and 5) and tortious interference with advantageous relationships (Rely 6), a sum sure can be established on this file. That particular quantity relies upon misplaced wages and advantages, and future wages and advantages by way of 2014. That sum specific amount is $2,144,500 as set forth on this file. Right here the Courtroom provides in $15,300 in precise expense that Mr. Reiterman has incurred as medical prices as a result of this defamation marketing campaign exercise. This value may be a part of damages for intentional infliction of emotion misery however solely in duplicate, so the Courtroom awards it right here and never for Rely 7. Reputational hurt as a result of these counts is just too inchoate to award though is more likely to be very important. For simplicity’s sake and to keep away from double counting, any damages for emotional misery below Counts 4–6 are omitted right here, as it might be duplicative of Rely 7 damages.
The Courtroom should err on the low aspect and be very conservative in awarding damages for emotional misery below Rely 7, intentional infliction of extreme emotional misery. The Eleventh Circuit has cautioned that weighing compensatory damages for emotion hurt “is inherently subjective.” Clearly, Mr.
Reiterman’s accidents have been huge on this class, however considerably inchoate. Evidently, the actions of Abid shock the Courtroom and would shock all regular individuals of conscience and empathy. Nevertheless, the Courtroom solely awards $1 million for anguish and emotional misery as a result of the sum just isn’t sure—precise misery damages are nearly definitely enormously in extra of this quantity. This quantity would apply to each the 2 defamation counts (Counts 4 and 5) and to Rely 7, which asserts intentional infliction of emotional misery. For simplicity’s sake and to keep away from double counting the Courtroom solely provides this quantity into Rely 7 on the Last Cash Judgment, which will likely be entered after this order.
Regarding punitive damages, Defendant’s conduct by any measure was vile and wanton, evincing sadistic ethical turpitude. This file establishes these acts by clear and convincing proof. One wonders how a standard particular person might be so consumed with evil as to have interaction in such a fancy, feral, and merciless scheme. Beneath part 768.73(1)(c) of the Florida Statutes, there isn’t any statutory cap on punitive damages that contain intentional conduct with a particular intent to hurt, that did trigger the precise hurt supposed. The Courtroom finds these elements met clear and convincing proof. Though the online value of the offender is related as to the quantity of punitive damages to be awarded, regretfully Defendant has absented herself deliberately from this course of, secreting herself and such data from the Courtroom and thus waiving this level. The Courtroom grants punitive damages and orders the precise damages to be doubled as condign punishment and deterrence.
For extra on the case from the Eleventh Circuit, see right here. Congratulations to Krista L. Baughman and Matthew Seth Sarelson (Dhillon Legislation Group, Inc.), who symbolize the plaintiff.