Robert and Gladys Zimmerman’s Lawsuit Moved to Federal Court
Robert and Gladys Zimmerman, the parents of George Zimmerman, filed suit in the Florida State Circuit Court in Sanford, Florida against Roseanne Barr. They allege that they were forced to leave their home and go into hiding because Barr tweeted their home address. The Zimmerman’s accuse Barr of violating their privacy and intentionally inflicting emotional distress and are seeking unspecified damages.
Two weeks ago, the case was transferred from the state circuit court to the
Orlando federal court and assigned to U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell.
Some of you might remember that I predicted that would be Barr’s attorney’s first move because of diversity. Barr resides in Hawaii and the Zimmerman’s in Florida.
George Zimmerman is the man who killed unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. By claiming Florida’s stand your ground, he avoided charges and arrest. The governor of Florida appointed State’s Attorney Angela Corey to investigate and in April 2012, George was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
In July 2013, a jury of 5 White women and 1 Hispanic woman found George not guilty. The Honorable Judge Debra Nelson, who presided over the murder trial, did not allow the initial aggressor part of self-defense law to be included in the jury instructions, although she included the “no duty to retreat” portion of stand your ground law in those instructions.
The Department of Justice still has an open investigation on whether George violated Trayvon’s civil rights.
The lawsuit alleges that on March 28, Barr tweeted the home address for Robert Sr. and Gladys Zimmerman, forcing them to flee their home in the middle of the night and go into hiding. However, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel published March 15, 2012, Robert Sr. told the Orlando Sentinel that he and his wife were already living in hiding. Barr acknowledged in papers filed with the court that she tweeted the Zimmerman’s address, and that she deleted that tweet as soon as she realized it went out to all followers rather than only the person she intended.
Barr is represented by the Los Angeles law firm of Kelly Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. Local attorneys in Orlando are with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC. Judicial Rules require that when attorneys represent parties who are not located in the state where a case is filed, or admitted to that state’s Bar, that they have a local attorney.
Often, local attorneys in such cases do not actually litigate the case, but are available for status hearings. In cases involving state laws that are transferred to federal court, the local attorneys are more familiar with state statutes and case decisions involving the same issues. Rosanne Barr has her bases covered.
Yesterday, Barr’s attorneys filed a motion to have the case dismissed.
Source: The Orlando Sentinel