As many know and have been asking about a lawsuit we were involved it, I will provide an update.
As you may know, BranfordSeven was sued by Marc Riccio, an RTM member in Branford who ran for state representative in 2020, who is also the President and CEO of Specialized Data Systems in East Haven. Riccio was represented by Tim Herbst, an attorney with the firm Marino, Zabel and Schellenberg who is well known as the former first selectman of Trumbull and a former Republican candidate for Governor.
Riccio, in his lawsuit, claimed that due to coverage of his race for state representative by BranfordSeven, he “experienced and continues to experience emotional, reputational and economic damages because of the Defendants’ malicious conduct.” The lawsuit stated that Riccio was hospitalized for an unnamed “significant pre-existing medical condition” at the same time of the BranfordSeven coverage, which he considered to be “defamatory, false, inflammatory and misleading.”
Soon after the filing, we retained Tadhg Dooly of Wiggin and Dana to defend BranfordSeven.com and Atticus News.
It was made clear to Riccio and Herbst by Dooley that going forward meant not only likely defeat for Riccio and Herbst, but according to law, Riccio would have been forced to pay all of our legal fees as well as his own. That would have meant Riccio being forced to pay at least $30,000 in legal fees on top of his own, and potentially much higher.
We also gave him an opportunity to settle to avoid further legal action from me.
This is significant victory for free speech and common sense. A politician claiming coverage of his campaign caused a flare up of a pre-existing health condition was not only absurd, but flew in the face of very clear free speech laws in Connecticut.
I want to thank Tadhg Dooley who brilliantly represented me and Atticus News, as well as the hundreds of residents whose positive email messages of support were amazing, and also for those who donated.
I also want to thank the Connecticut legislature for passing anti-SLAPP legislation, realizing that people with means often use the law to harass, get retribution or silence others without legal basis by forcing large legal expenditures. My case was the exact reason such laws exist.
Again, thank you for the outpouring of support. While this is not over, this is a very real victory for free speech.