f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 15, 2005

versaci’s so-called lawsuit dismissed

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 11:27 am

the lawyer
represents himself —
a widow’s raised fist

dagosan, March 15, 2005

As promised yesterday, I have more details on the dismissal of versaci v. richie. Today’s
Schenectady NY Gazette has an article “Defamation lawsuit dismissed,” [scroll to Reply #44]
describing the aborted trial in Schenectady County’s Supreme Court, where Romolo Versaci
(a lawyer since 1945) represented himself, as did defendant Diane Richie, who Versaci
accused of defamation, for calling him a “so-called lawyer” on a local online message board.
About 10 minutes into the hearing, Acting Supreme Court Judge Felix Catena read from a
prepared opinion:

“This court finds as a matter of law the statement [“so-called lawyer”] constitutes
rhetorical opinion . . . rather than fact. The complaint is therefore dismissed.”

bingoCardG The article states that “Richie clenched her fists in the air in a sign of victory and relef,”
her daughter, Rylan, by her side.” Versaci appeared stunned and was not allowed to be heard
on the issue.

This warms my heart, for a number of reasons. Besides quashing what I consider a nuisance suit,
the case features a pro se litigant beating a veteran lawyer, while fighting city hall (or at least a
City Councilman). As Gazette reporter Michael DeMasi explains:

“The ruling brought to a close the final chapter in what has been a fierce dispute
that began in 2003 when Ritchie hired Simon’s Rock Historical Restoration to
renovate her house. Richie sued, claiming the company headed by City Councilman
Peter Della Ratta did shoddy or incomplete work on the roofs and other sections
of her house.”

Della Ratta initially hired Versaci to represent him in small claims court and Richie’s remark at
the website about Versaci was made after an appearance there. As the Gazette points out:

“Monday’s ruling gives Richie her third legal victory. Last November, the vice
president of Della Ratta Enterprises, Michael Della Ratta, pleaded guilty to two
housing code violations related to the work done on Richie’s house and agreed to
a $2000 fine.

“Last week, City Court Judge Guide A. Loyola awarded Richie $776 to compensate
her for work that wasn’t finished.

Versaci says he’ll appeal Judge Catena’s ruling. Yesterday, he was heard saying “a lawyer’s
worst enemy is another lawyer.”

his butt cooled
by the spring breeze
roof thatcher

autumn wind–
a cock-a-doodling rooster
on the roof

roof of the house–
sown by the birds

ISSA, translated by David G. Lanoue


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