Anatomy of a frivolous litigation with Beth Mason, Lane and Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi
A SLAPP-suit gets nuked in Hoboken
The decision rendered this week in Hudson Superior Court on Hoboken bloggers (commenters) is monumental on two fronts: NJ rights to political speech and frivolous litigation.
This week’s First Amendment triumph and enforced standard against frivolous litigation wasn’t what the Hudson Reporter editors and publishers had in mind. After failing to publish MSV’s comment published by every other local news outlet last February without explanation, they again asked for comment. A quote was submitted.
The 32 page legal decision made all that rhetoric moot rendering this SLAPP as “frivolous… bad faith, (for) harassment, delay, and malicious injury.” It followed with a harshly worded damning conclusion:
At the May hearing for legal fees and sanctions, Judge Patrick Arre remarked with some exasperation, “there is no evidence of anything” in response to one of several pro-Bajardi attorneys rhetorically inquiring how the case could be frivolous when it made it to trial.
The Hudson Reporter had incorrectly reported right in the lead of its story, Lane Bajardi had only come up short to “provide enough evidence,” even as the case never made it to the jury.
Like Lane Bajardi, the editors and publishers of the Hudson Reporter make their living off the First Amendment but unfortunately appear to have a rooting political interest overriding political speech rights. They also share a never say die attitude of support for the very controversial Beth Mason who appears to be mounting a suicidal re-election council campaign effort.
In all, defendants faced 68 motions in this three year litigation, an absurd amount by any standard and a classic example of what’s called “checkbook litigation.” The Court determined this SLAPP-suit rendered defendants victims of a frivolous litigation designed to “harass, delay and (inflict) malicious injury.”