the staff of the Ridgewood blog
River Vale, NJ , Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi has had enough ,on Facebook she says , “Sometimes you have to fight back. When you have no platform, positions or plans, you lie about pretty much everything. This isn’t “politics” as usual. It’s intentionally and maliciously defaming someone in an effort to destroy a person’s reputation.”
Schepisi Attorney Gibbons PC Director Thomas J. Cafferty fired off a letter on behalf of the incumbent Republican Assemblywoman to the Committee to Elect Linda Schwager, Jannie Chung and Annie Hausmann.
Cafferty stated in the letter that the Democrats have published, or have caused to be published, various political advertisements containing false and defamatory statements about Schepisi, including: (1) an advertisement dated October 13, 2017, which contains fictitious quotes regarding the Sandy Hook shooting that are falsely attributed to his client; and (2) an advertisement dated October 27, 2017, which depicts images of men with machine guns and includes the statement “Auth and Schepisi have headlined events hosted by the head of a domestic terrorist militia.”
“On behalf of Ms. Schepisi, I hereby demand that you and any and all of your employees, representatives and/or agents, immediately cease and desist the publication of the above-referenced advertisements and any and all other false and defamatory statements about Ms. Schepisi,” Cafferty wrote. “I also insist that you retract the above-referenced advertisements and any and all other false and defamatory statements that you have published about Ms. Schepisi in at least as prominent a location and in the same manner as the original advertisements were published, with a copy to me.”
The attorney also warned about the sanctioning of an unprivileged, false and a defamatory statement concerning his plaintiff, communicated to a third party with the requisite level of fault and which causes damage. See Govito v. W. Jersey Health System, Inc., 332 N.J. Super. 293, 305-06 (App. Div. 2000).
“he level of fault when the statement concerns a public official or public figure, like Ms. Schepisi, is actual malice, which is the knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth,” Cafferty said. “Durando v. Nutley Sun, 209 N.J. 235, 249 (2012). In other words, the actual malice standard is satisfied when the publisher of the statement entertained serious doubts as to the truth of that statement. St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 731 (1968).”
The attorney noted that Schepisi advised the Democrats on multiple occasions that the statements contained in their advertisements are false.
“You have, however, ignored Ms. Schepisi. Consequently, you have published these advertisements with reckless disregard for the truth of the statements contained therein and with the requisite knowledge of falsity,” Cafferty wrote. “If you do not cease publication of any and all false and defamatory statements about Ms. Schepisi, I will have no choice but to advise my client of all legal remedies available to her including, without limitation, instituting a lawsuit against you.”
District 39 is Bergen and Passaic counties; Bloomingdale, Closter, Demarest, Dumont, Emerson, Harrington Park, Haworth, Hillsdale, Mahwah, Montvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ringwood, River Vale, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Wanaque, Washington (Bergen), Westwood, Woodcliff Lake .