Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Judge Koury Denies Mezzacappa New Trial In Online Defamation Case
Judge Michael Koury, in an exhaustive 52-page opinion, yesterday denied Tricia Mezzacappa's post trial motions in my defamation suit against her. The Court rejected her claim that she received no notice of the trial, noting that the certified mail notice and tracking information indicating that delivery was, in fact, attempted.
Mezzacappa had claimed that she had no mail for a week last winter, as a result of snow and ice. Everyone kept slipping and falling on their ass, says she. If that is so, says Judge Koury, she had an obligation to notify the Court as well as opposing Counsel in the numerous lawsuits that seem to have consumed her.
The Court also gives an interesting explanations of damages available in a defamation case.
First, there's presumed compensatory damages, which require no proof. This includes damage to reputation, humiliation, and mental anguish. Second, there's special compensatory damages, which do require proof. These are actual, out-of-pocket losses. Finally, there's punitive damages for a Defendant who acts with common law and actual malice. Those are imposed to deter a Defendant and others from defamatory behavior.
The Court's opinion is actually a reflection of its respect for Mezzacappa. She is a difficult person, even in a courtroom. She's pro se, and the Court could have dispatched her with a one-page order. But it showed her the same respect it would give to a high-priced lawyer. That is something that has always distinguished the Northampton County bench.
Mezzacappa can appeal this judgment, but she can't stop execution unless she posts a bond for 120% of the judgment.
I intend to commence execution immediately.
I'll let you in on a little secret, now that the case is over. During the trial, when I was talking about the embarrassment I felt at my grandson's basketball games, Judge Koury interrupted me to ask about my grandson. He had apparently seen him in action at one of the CYO games. I never knew he was even there.
"He's a very good basketball player," the Judge (and son of a great Notre Dame basketball coach) opined.
After that single remark, Judge Koury can do no wrong in my book. I called Dat's mother, and told her we now have a judicial opinion that Dat is good at basketball. She actually started crying. After that, Judge Koury could have ruled against me, and I would have still smiled. He found my weak spot.
But I'm glad he found in my favor.