According to Florida law, statements of pure opinion cannot constitute actionable defamation:
Eastern’s position is that the foregoing statements by Ashlock are statements of opinion, not of fact, and as such cannot form the basis for an action for defamation. Of course, Eastern is correct that statements of pure opinion cannot constitute actionable defamation. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 340–41, 94 S.Ct. 2997, 3007, 41 L.Ed.2d 789, 805 (1974); Old Dominion Branch No. 496, National Association of Letter Carriers v. Austin, 418 U.S. 264, 94 S.Ct. 2770, 41 L.Ed.2d 745 (1974); White v. Fletcher, 90 So.2d 129 (Fla.1956); Lampkin-Asam v. Miami Daily News, Inc., 408 So.2d 666 (Fla. 3d DCA 1981); Coleman v. Collins, 384 So.2d 229 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc. v. Early, 334 So.2d 50 (Fla. 4th DCA 1976). Accord, Mashburn v. Collin, 355 So.2d 879 (La.1977). However, a statement that although ostensibly in the form of an opinion “implies the allegation of undisclosed defamatory facts as the basis for the opinion,” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 566 (1977), is actionable. The difference between the former, unactionable, pure opinion and the latter, sometimes called “mixed opinion,” is that:
“Pure opinion occurs when the defendant makes a comment or opinion based on facts which are set forth in the article or which are otherwise known or available to the reader or listener as a member of the public. Mixed expression of opinion occurs when an opinion or comment is made which is based upon facts regarding the plaintiff or his conduct that have not been stated in the article or assumed to exist by the parties to the communication.” From v. Tallahassee Democrat, Inc., 400 So.2d 52, 57 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981).
See: Eastern Air Lines, Inc. v. Gellert – 438 So.2d 923
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