By 6-1 vote, The Florida Supreme Court ruled against the family of real-life
swordfish captain Billy Tyne whose life and death at the helm of the Andrea
Gail became the basis for the Warner Entertainment movie that grossed more than
Tyne’s family sued shortly after the motion picture’s release, claiming the
company altered facts to make the movie more marketable. The family sought
monetary damages under a Florida law against portraying someone in false light
to promote a product or commercial enterprise.
Specifically, the family objected to the film’s portrayal of Tyne as a
quarrelsome captain who derided his crew and unnecessarily risked their lives
in the quest to return his catch to port in the face of the unprecedented New
Filmmakers countered that the movie clearly stated that it was only based on
Tyne’s life and included fictionalised accounts, making it protected by the
First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Florida’s highest court
The lawsuit was filed in Orlando, Florida, by Tyne’s ex-wife, Jodi Tyne, and
the couple’s two daughters.
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