Blogger Can Rant About Ex-Landlord And Heat Minority Owner

, Daily Business Review


Third District Court of Appeal
Third District Court of Appeal

Raanan Katz, a billionaire commercial real estate developer and Miami Heat minority owner, was stripped Wednesday of an injunction obtained against an angry former retail tenant.

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a temporary injunction imposed in 2012 by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Leesfield. The injunction was an interim measure intended to offer some relief against an allegedly defamatory blogger while Katz's defamation suit proceeded to trial.

Katz's attorney, Alan Kluger of Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine in Miami, wasn't impressed with the effectiveness of the injunction against Irina Chevaldina.

"She was writing anyway," Kluger said, claiming she ignored the order.

In agreeing to enter the injunction, Kluger said Leesfield was particularly offended by a drawing Chevaldina published that depicted Katz defecating.

"She had been writing things that were stretching the facts, a lot of really mean-spirited things," Katz said.

Writing for a three-judge panel, Third District Judge Vance Salter described Chevaldina and her husband as "very unhappy former tenants of RK Associates," Katz's firm. The judge said the appeal is one of eight South Florida legal proceedings between the parties.

In 2009, the Chevaldinas sued Katz, his son Daniel Katz and two Katz companies for breach of lease and defamation. Both cases were dismissed in 2010 in favor of the Katzes.

In 2011, the Katzes became aware of an anonymous blog that alleged Katz was untrustworthy. One statement said, "Raanan Katz and Daniel Katz are the most immoral human beings in the world."

Katz filed a defamation and libel suit, obtained discovery and learned Chevaldina was the author. He then added counts of tortious interference, invasion of privacy and trespass and sought the injunction.

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