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 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.

However, Riccio chose to pull the lawsuit instead.

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.


(7) comments


What a stupid lawsuit. Riccio has always been an idiot


If the town of Branford has to have someone like you standing up for journalism and free speech we're all in a world of hurt. Youre neither a journalist or a real supporter of free speech. Just another political hack like the young dude Coughlan

Steve Mazzacane Staff
Steve Mazzacane

We started this site about 12 years ago and the town is still doing pretty well. No one seems to be experiencing a "world of hurt" so far. So, there's that.


He claimed a preexisting condition? What was it? If you cant handle the press being critical of you, don't run. And then you file a lawsuit, then remove it? Is this a child? I give you credit steve having to deal with this. and how did his lawyer not know the law?


Most of town has a lot of respect for mazzacane as hes honest and may be brilliant. I donate to this site as i feels he is fair. but even those who hate him cant side with riccio on this, the lawsuit is so dumb its not funny. Riccio should be embarrassed. run for office then sue the journalist who covered it. thats rich


First Amendment Rights must be protected! I listened to that segment live, and it exhibited bullying behavior, except instead of a bar fight it’s the old “I am going to sue you.”

My town of East Haven is full of this junk. Sue happy and going nowhere.


Just another annoying Lawsuit involving Herbst. He collects a paycheck and his client looks worse at the end of it all.

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