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NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING
MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
CYNTHIA GOODWIN BAUCOM,
CASE NO. 2D00-4129
THOMAS F. HAVERTY, an individual,
LISA ANNE HAVERTY, an individual,
HOME HEALTH CARE AND NURSING
SOLUTIONS OF FLORIDA, INC.,
MEDICAL COST CONTROL &
MANAGEMENT, INC., and
SERVICES OF FLORIDA, INC.,
Opinion filed November 21, 2001.
Appeal from the Circuit
Court for Hillsborough County;
James M. Barton, Judge.
Theresa I. Wigginton of Law Office of
Theresa Wigginton, Brandon, for
Kennan G. Dandar of Dandar &
Dandar, P.A., Tampa, for
WHATLEY, Acting Chief Judge.
Cynthia Goodwin Baucom appeals the final summary judgment entered in
favor of the appellees, Thomas Haverty and Lisa Anne Haverty, in which the trial court
ruled that Baucom's action was barred by the statute of limitations. We reverse.
In 1988, Baucom suffered severe injuries during a fall at a restaurant. The
attorneys she retained to file a lawsuit against the restaurant hired the appellees to
prepare a medical assessment and evaluation ("the report") of Baucom for use in the
litigation. This report included confidential information gleaned from psychiatric records,
as well as photographs of Baucom and various parts of her body. The photographs were
marked confidential. They include images of Baucom clad only in her underwear and
images in which her face is clearly visible. Baucom's name and a description of what is
depicted is in close proximity to each photograph.
After Baucom's case was settled for a substantial sum, the appellees began
using the report as an example of their work when seeking employment with law firms
preparing medical reports for use in litigation. In 1997, Baucom first learned of this use of
the report by the appellees. She filed this action against them in 1999, alleging that
"beginning in 1991 and continuing to the present time, the Defendants have used the
report as an example of their work when seeking employment with law firms around the
State of Florida and perhaps elsewhere." Her complaint alleged causes of action for
unauthorized publication of name or likeness under section 540.08, Florida Statutes
(1997), two counts of invasion of privacy (appropriation of name or likeness and public
disclosure of private facts), injunctive relief, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The appellees filed a motion for summary judgment alleging, inter alia, that all of Baucom's
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causes of action were barred by the four-year statute of limitations. The trial court agreed
with the appellees, citing Putnam Berkley Group, Inc. v. Dinin, 734 So. 2d 532 (Fla. 4th
DCA 1999), and finding that the appellees first published the report in 1991 and Baucom
did not file her complaint until 1999.1
Dinin does not control this case. Dinin involved a cause of action brought
pursuant to section 540.08 based on the publication of a photograph in a book. It appears
from the opinion that the book was published only once, i.e., it was disseminated only
once. Dinin's cause of action was barred because she did not bring it within the limitations
period that began to run from the date of that publication. Here, Baucom alleged multiple
publications or disseminations. In other words, a new publication occurred each time the
appellees presented the report to a new potential employer. Consequently, each time the
appellees presented the report to a new potential employer, the applicable four-year
statute of limitations began to run anew. See Musto v. Bell South Telecommunications,
748 So. 2d 296 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) (applying multiple publication rule in credit slander
case and holding that statute of limitations begins to run anew upon each republication of
allegedly slanderous credit report), rev. denied, 741 So. 2d 637 (Fla. 1999). See also
Epic Metals Corp. v. CONDEC, Inc., 867 F. Supp. 1009 (M.D. Fla. 1994) (stating in dicta
that second publication of photographs in a separate brochure is a separate cause of
action for invasion of privacy). This is not to say that a new cause of action accrued each
time someone at each potential employer read or was shown the report. Rather, a new
1 The trial court granted the appellees' motion for summary judgment on all of the
counts of Baucom's complaint except that for injunctive relief. Baucom filed a voluntary
dismissal of that count before the trial court entered the final summary judgment at issue in
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cause of action accrued, and the statute of limitations began to run anew, the first time the
report was read or shown to someone at each new potential employer. See § 770.07, Fla.
Stat. (1999) ("The cause of action for damages founded upon a single publication or
exhibition or utterance . . . shall be deemed to have accrued at the time of the first
publication or exhibition or utterance thereof in this state.").
Accordingly, we reverse the final summary judgment and remand with
directions that counts I, II, III, and V of Baucom's complaint be reinstated.
NORTHCUTT and CASANUEVA, JJ., Concur.
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