John Sciacca recently defended a client in a lawsuit for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It was alleged by the plaintiff that Mr. Sciacca’s client contacted the plaintiff’s employer to advise the plaintiff’s employer that the plaintiff was a convicted felon and had recently put sugar in the gas tank of a Jeep owned by Mr. Sciacca’s client. Within a few weeks, plaintiff was let go from his employment.
It was learned during the trial that plaintiff was, in fact, a temporary employee at his place of employment. He was on a contract, and his employer testified that he was released from employment because his contract had ended. His employer testified that the telephone call from Mr. Sciacca’s client had nothing to do with the plaintiff being let go from his place of employment.
Furthermore, Mr. Sciacca submitted evidence that although the plaintiff was not a convicted felon, the plaintiff had, in fact, been convicted of several misdemeanors, including assault and battery, and had been charged with felony child abuse. Additionally, Mr. Sciacca elicited testimony from one of his client’s roommates who was a retired investigator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who happened to be living at Mr. Sciacca’s client’s home when the plaintiff allegedly put sugar in Mr. Sciacca’s client’s Jeep. The plaintiff was also living at the home at this time. The retired prison investigator testified that he believed the plaintiff was the one that put sugar in Mr. Sciacca’s client’s gas tank. This was based upon his deductive reasoning and years of experience as an investigator in law enforcement.
In closing arguments, Mr. Sciacca argued to the jury that the alleged statements made by his client to the plaintiff’s employer were, in fact, substantially true. Furthermore, Mr. Sciacca highlighted that there was no evidence that the plaintiff had, in fact, suffered severe emotional distress. There was no evidence offered by the plaintiff that he had, in fact, sought treatment for his severe emotional distress with respect to the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action.
After a three day jury trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on both causes of action for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress on behalf of Mr. Sciacca’s client. Mr. Sciacca’s client was awarded costs as a result of the defense verdict.
Mr. Sciacca has handled a number of defamation cases in his career. He has only settled one defamation case, having all of the others dismissed by way of either Anti-SLAPP motions or defense verdict. As a result of Mr. Sciacca’s defense of defamation actions, Mr. Sciacca’s client’s have been awarded over $25,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to date.