Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan dismissed golfer Patrick Reed’s defamation lawsuits against several journalists and media organizations, including Brandel Chamblee, Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, and others. Reed had filed these lawsuits before the 2023 Ryder Cup, alleging conspiracy, defamation, and other claims in relation to articles, broadcasts, and books. This was the second time Reed’s $750 million lawsuit had been dismissed. Now, Judge Corrigan has ordered Reed to pay the legal fees of each defendant, as reported by Andrew Pantazi, the editor of The Tributary.
The defendants in Reed’s lawsuits included Eamon Lynch of Golfweek, author Shane Ryan, Damon Hack of the Golf Channel, The New York Post, and Fox Sports, among others. Reed’s allegations came amidst various rule controversies that have surrounded him throughout his career. However, Judge Corrigan cited Florida law and the First Amendment in his decision to dismiss the defamation claims, stating that Reed failed to meet the requirements for such a claim.
Less than three months later, the Court ruled that Reed brought these lawsuits to stifle free speech, violating the First Amendment. The Order released on January 5, 2024, revealed that Reed encroached on Florida’s anti-SLAPP provision. This provision prohibits lawsuits against individuals for exercising their right to free speech in connection with a public issue, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
While Reed argued that the Court misstated the law and ignored case law, Judge Corrigan maintained his position in the Order. Reed’s actions were seen as an attempt to manipulate the legal system in response to criticism he received for joining the LIV Golf circuit and the controversies he has faced throughout his career.
Ultimately, the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida put an end to Reed’s attempts by ordering him to pay for the legal fees of the defendants. This ruling concluded the legal battle surrounding Reed’s defamation claims.