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ARTICLE ID 194756

$________ Defamation – Malicious prosecution – Plaintiff home healthcare worker falsely accused of writing bad checks from patient account – 29-days incarceration.

Duval County, FL

The plaintiff was employed as a home health care nurse for the defendant company for approximately a year and a half. She alleged that the defendant defamed her and caused her malicious prosecution for writing bad checks from a patient’s account. The defendant, healthcare home, which has since gone out of business, contended that it reported information to the police, and the police determined that the plaintiff should be arrested and prosecuted.

The plaintiff testified that she initially gave the defendant three weeks notice of her resignation, but after an altercation with her supervisor, she left the company immediately. The plaintiff claimed that her supervisor was angry because he knew he would have difficulty replacing the plaintiff in the downtown Jacksonville area.

Approximately a year after her resignation, the defendant’s supervisor identified the plaintiff as the person shown in a police video writing bad checks from a patient’s account. The plaintiff denied the allegations, and said that she had never gone to that client’s home.

The plaintiff claimed that information provided by the defendant resulted in a warrant for her arrest. One of the plaintiff’s co-workers testified that, after the plaintiff’s arrest, she overheard the defendant’s supervisor say “We got the bitch.”

The plaintiff served 29 days in jail in ________ before it was determined that the person shown in the surveillance video was not the plaintiff, and the charges against her were dismissed. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant improperly accused her of being a thief and falsely told the police that she was terminated from her employment.

The defendant argued that the woman in the surveillance video looked like the plaintiff, and that its employee gave his honest opinion to the police. It was the state attorney who issued the arrest warrant for the plaintiff, according to defense arguments.The jury found for the plaintiff on both defamation and malicious prosecution. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages. The award included $________ in past pain and suffering; $________ in past loss of income, and $________ in legal costs of defending the underlying criminal charges. The defendant’s motion for new trial is pending, and the plaintiff is seeking attorney fees and costs.

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