- Elderly Schenectady (NY) lawyer Romolo Versaci has filed a $100,000 defamation suit against Diane C. Richie, an unemployed social worker and widow with two children. Versaci claims — and Richie admits — that she called him a “so-called attorney” on a SchenectadyNY.info message board. You can find the message (which uses Versaci’s first name) here, and an 08-28-04 Daily Gazette article describing the dispute here).
- Versaci says the comment has “greatly injured” his reputation, and adds that “She’s got to stop these cutesy messages and think a little bit.” He has been replaced with another lawyer in the controversy that spawned this lawsuit.Richie says, “I haven’t got $100, let alone $100,000. I couldn’t even imagine a judge looking at this. It’s so stupid.”
- ethicalEsq says: “Most days, I’d consider being called a ‘so-called attorney’ a compliment.“
- by the way, in his business profile, Versaci lists “Personal Injury” and “Malpractice Law Legal & Medical” among his specialties.
update (March 15, 2005): See our follow-up post “Versaci’s so-called lawsuit dismissed“.
- what would Kobayashi Issa think of all this?
on the day of departure, too
the widow goose
short summer night–
foolish flowers, clever flowers
into the snake’s hole
accusing the pine
–translated by David G. Lanoue
Update (Aug. 30, 2004): At Notes from the (Legal) Underground, straight-shooter Evan Schaffer has weighed in, with a rather telling headline: “But Make No Mistake: The So-Called Attorney Is a Real-Life, Lawsuit-Wielding, Good-for-Nothing Bully (IMHO),” and a raft of Comments.
- On Sunday, Federalist #84, of the Crime & Federalism weblog, entered the fray, with a post entitled, Why Don’t You Sue Me, Tough Guy . In addition to agreeing to accept process at his L.A. law office, Fed. 84 says, “Way to carry the torch, Versaci. Way to highlight for all the United States that lawyers are good people, not sharks.”
- Albany, NY, appellate lawyer, Matthew Lerner covers this tale at his weblog, New York Civil Law. Thanks back at ya, Matthew.
- And Kevin Heller mentions it, and our understandilbly indescribable website, at The Blawg Channel.