Is a libel case born the moment someone makes an allegedly defamatory statement, or does it begin when someone else reads it? That was the question facing the Fourth District Court of Appeal when it ruled on a lawsuit over a social media post published in Martin County but accessed by someone in Palm Beach County.

The resulting appellate opinion is a “big deal,” according to prevailing lawyer Philip G. Thompson of Thompson & Thomas in West Palm Beach, as it expands a plaintiff’s choice of venue to any of Florida’s 67 counties, as long as someone there accessed and read the statement.