Miami-Dade Court Upholds Your Right to Use the F-Word During Business Matters
During a dispute over payment for a roofing job, roofer Salomon Susi told his customer, attorney Rami Shmuely, "Pay your fucking bill!" Shmuely, being an attorney and all, filed a lawsuit. He claimed Susi's use of the profanity violated a law meant to curb harassment of debtors. Well, a three-person panel of Miami-Dade judges recently ruled in Susi's favor, meaning your right to drop F-bombs during business disputes is in tact.
Two years ago, Shmuely, a founder and partner of North Miami law firm Shmuely & Willis, needed a new roof on his house, and he used the services of Susi's Hialeah-based Salomon Roofing and Construction Corp.
Shmuely claimed that the job was botched and that loose tiles and shoddy work caused water damage inside his house. A separate lawsuit regarding the job itself was settled in Shmuely's favor, according to the Daily Business Review.
Shmuely had originally refused to pay for the botched roof job. So Susi called him and said, "Pay your fucking bill!" and "Don't be a fucking schlub!"
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Shmuely argued that Susi's use of the F-word violated a Florida law that prohibits debt collectors from using "profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language." So he sued — which is unsurprising, because his firm's specialities include debtor defense and creditor harassment. For what it's worth, Shmuely ended up paying Susi before the case even went to trial.
However, according to the Review, Miami-Dade County Court Judge Gloria Gonzalez-Meyer, who originally heard the case in April, snarked, "I think that is why people hate lawyers."
Susi's side argued that profanity is outlawed only when it is connected to a specific threat or a pattern of harassment. Susi won the original April case, but Shmuely appealed. However, this past December 9, the three-judge panel refused to take up the appeal and ordered Shmuely to pay Susi's court costs.
Now Susi is suing Shmuely for malicious prosecution.
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