Torrens Counter-Sues Shaw for Libel
Defends personal integrity and asserts rights in court proceedings.
TAMPA, Fla – Tuesday, Ryan Torrens, Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General, countersued his primary opponent Rep. Sean Shaw for libel Tuesday.
“By erroneously raising these false claims, my opponent falsely and frivolously challenged my integrity, as a professional and as someone aspiring to public office, and that of my wife,” Torrens added. “In addition, I have exercised my right to request a jury trial on our libel claim for damages against my primary opponent.”
Torrens is a consumer attorney in Tampa and has been named a “Rising Star” in consumer law by SuperLawyers Magazine. Torrens asserts in his countersuit that his primary opponent’s meritless allegations of fraud could irreparably harm his practice and good name. In addition, the Shaw campaign waiting until weeks before the election to file the suit and has been pushing to subvert court rules to speed along proceedings.
“The frivolous lawsuit by my opponent is just a sad attempt to confuse voters during a primary election after absentee ballots have already been sent out,” Torrens said. Of his opponent’s lawsuit demand that Torrens be removed from the ballot, Torrens’ lawsuit pointedly noted: “This has never happened in the history of Florida because it is not an authorized procedure…”
What Shaw’s suit did erroneously contend was that, because the check’s funds were used to help pay Torrens’ candidacy filing fee, Shaw’s suit asked the court to order that Torrens be removed from the ballot before their August 28 Democratic primary. But Florida law, while limiting the amounts outside individuals and political action committees can contribute to a campaign, provides that candidates can loan unlimited amounts of their own money to their campaigns. And that is precisely what was being done in this instance.
Shaw’s lawsuit had cited that one $4,000 check as being an illegal contribution. It was a check signed by Yabraian that was drawn on a joint credit union account that lists the account as belonging to both Yabraian and her husband, Torrens. But Shaw’s suit didn’t mention anything about the account’s actual joint ownership.
“In his initial haste to file his frivolous lawsuit, my opponent apparently didn’t realize at the time that Francesca is my wife,” Torrens said. “And he certainly didn’t take the time to learn that the check his lawsuit focused upon was drawn on an account that is maintained in both our names. If he had cared enough to simply ask me about it, as one Democrat ought to do with another out of a basic sense of decency and fairness, I would have of course informed him of that crucial fact. Instead, he blindsided me by filing his lawsuit that was based upon false assumptions and assertions – and thus fatally flawed. Instead, my opponent informed the news media in a press release – and I had to learn about what he had done to my campaign from reporters who asked me for a statement.”
“With his years of public service, I really expected better of him,” remarked Torrens. “If he wants to keep wasting money in the courts on frivolous cases, like Attorney General Pam Bondi has done, then that’s his decision. I will continue to campaign across the state and talk about the issues Floridians are worried about. It’s a shame as this suit will only tear down our party in this critical election season,” said Torrens.
Ryan Torrens has been campaigning throughout Florida, fulfilling his commitment to campaign in all 67 Florida counties. Throughout his campaign, he has continued fighting for his clients as a consumer protection lawyer in Tampa, FL. Torrens says he is running to put the Attorney General’s office back on the side of consumers again.
You can find more about Ryan Torrens and his campaign at www.RyanTorrens.com.