Jun 16, 2020

Southern District of Florida Grants Summary Judgment in Favor of TLo Client on Defamation and Tortious Interference Claims

From the outset, TLo lawyers argued that discovery would show the Plaintiff’s claims to be baseless. The Court ultimately agreed.

On June 12, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted summary judgment in favor of Thomas & LoCicero’s client, Tramontina U.S.A., Inc., in a defamation and tortious interference case seeking 15 million dollars in damages.  The Court ruled that Plaintiff W.P. Productions, Inc. failed to adduce evidence that Tramontina made any defamatory statements or tortiously interfered with the Plaintiff’s alleged business relationship with Costco.  The case was W.P. Productions, Inc. v. Tramontina U.S.A., Inc. and Sam’s West, Inc., No.  18-cv-63162, 2020 WL 3566400 (S.D. Fla. June 12, 2020).

Tramontina manufactures housewares, including cookware, sold to retailers such as Sam’s Club, Costco, and Walmart.  The Plaintiff supplies stainless steel cookware products to retailers in the U.S. and, until recently, sold cookware sets under a licensing agreement with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.  After Sam’s Club stopped purchasing the cookware sets, and the Plaintiff failed to sell them to Costco, it sued Tramontina and Sam’s Club, asserting claims for defamation, tortious interference, and conspiracy. 

Thomas & LoCicero attorneys James J. McGuire, Gregg D. Thomas, and Linda R. Norbut represented Tramotina and argued that the Plaintiff’s case was utterly lacking in evidentiary support.  From the outset, TLo defended Tramontina by arguing that the complaint failed to allege facts sufficient to support the Plaintiff’s theory and that discovery would show the claims to be baseless.  The Court ultimately agreed, granting summary judgment and explaining that the Plaintiff “may not avoid summary judgment with speculation, conjecture, or simply by relying on [its] unsworn pleadings or presenting a mere scintilla of evidence in support of [its] claims. Rather, [it] must present evidence on the basis of which a jury reasonably could find in [its] favor.”

In addition, in response to TLo’s summary judgment motion, the Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed one of its tortious interference claims along with its conspiracy claim. 

With offices in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Thomas & LoCicero is a Florida-based firm with a national practice focused on Media and Free Speech, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property & Marketing, and Data Privacy & Security.  Clients benefit from the firm’s extensive knowledge and experience in defamation, complex commercial litigation, business torts, breach of contract, antitrust and unfair competition, invasion of privacy, trademark, and copyright. 

2024 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Announced

TLo secures dismissal of defamation lawsuit with prejudice, citing Florida’s litigation privilege

Stagecoaches or newspapers? Jim Lake assesses issues in U.S. Supreme Court social media cases

Related Articles