Tiger King’s Carole Baskin asks Florida Supreme Court to review defamation lawsuit ruling

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Carole Baskin, who became a pop culture sensation due to Netflix’s docuseries “Tiger King,” has asked the Florida Supreme Court to review an appellate court’s ruling that said she isn’t protected from a defamation lawsuit brought by a former assistant.

Baskin last week asked the high court to reconsider its earlier denial of her appeal in the defamation case brought by Anne McQueen, a former assistant to her missing husband. A provision of the Florida Constitution and the U.S. Constitution conflicts with the appellate court’s ruling, Baskin said in her filing with the Florida Supreme Court.

The lawsuit said that Baskin defamed McQueen by posting video diary entries on YouTube and on a website in 2020, claiming McQueen embezzled money from her and her then-husband, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances more than two decades ago.

Baskin argued that McQueen’s case was without merit because she was protected by free speech provisions, her entries weren’t defamatory, and McQueen failed to provide proper notice of her intent to sue as required in lawsuits against publications, broadcasters and other media.

A trial judge ruled in favor of Baskin and dismissed the case, saying that Baskin was a “media defendant” and that her statements were protected by free speech provisions under state law.

An appellate court reversed parts of that decision, saying it wasn’t protected speech and that Baskin’s postings and video entries fell short of what is considered a media defendant in the way newspapers and broadcasters are protected.

The “Tiger King” documentary was about Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” a former Oklahoma zookeeper. He was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, who had tried to shut him down, accusing the Oklahoma zoo of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.

Baskin also was a contestant on the show, “Dancing With The Stars” in 2020.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.