Morrison Mahoney Partner Joseph Ciollo recently obtained a defense verdict following a 5-day trial in Bridgeport Superior Court in a defamation case. Plaintiff was a Bridgeport restaurant and bar establishment. Our client was one of four Defendant homeowners who lived in very close proximity to Plaintiff. In 2016, our client and the other homeowners had grown increasingly frustrated with Plaintiff’s patrons constantly littering in their yards, often with alcohol containers that were improperly carried out of the establishment. The Defendant homeowners, as well as other homeowners who were not named in the litigation, raised complaints with the Bridgeport police and mayor’s office. Two of the homeowners, including our client, also learned that Plaintiff did not have a required permit for pool tables which had been installed at the establishment since 2013. The homeowners requested that the City of Bridgeport enforce its local regulations in this regard. Plaintiff applied for the relevant permit, which was denied by the City of Bridgeport. The denial was ultimately upheld by the Superior Court.
Shortly before the public hearing on the permit application, Plaintiff filed the subject lawsuit against the homeowners, alleging defamation, civil conspiracy and intentional interference with business relations. Plaintiff alleged that the homeowners had made false statements which damaged Plaintiff’s reputation and caused economic losses. The evidence at trial includes scores of e-mails and letters generated by our client and other Defendants, often containing unflattering remarks about Plaintiff and its business operations. The witnesses included City of Bridgeport officials, police officers, and Plaintiff’s employees and patrons. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client and the other Defendants after just over an 1 hour of deliberation.