Sollami v. Sheppard

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

01/22/2004

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

New York

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
James Sollami, the former Town Supervisor of Cornwall, New York, sued blogger Tom Sheppard for libel in New York state court in 2004. Sheppard operates a website called "Cornball-Local.com," which deals with local politics. Sollami objected to 27 statements made on the... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

James Sollami

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Thomas Sheppard

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • New York

Location of Party: 

  • New York

Legal Counsel: 

Michael O'Connor
Description

James Sollami, the former Town Supervisor of Cornwall, New York, sued blogger Tom Sheppard for libel in New York state court in 2004. Sheppard operates a website called "Cornball-Local.com," which deals with local politics. Sollami objected to 27 statements made on the blog, which, according to the RecordOnline.com, accused Sollami of "a laundry list of misdeeds involving town business."

The trial judge granted Sheppard's motion to dismiss in April 2004, concluding that the statements at issue were statements of opinion protected by the First Amendment. Sollami appealed, and the New York apellate court reversed the dismissal as to seven statements. The appellate court concluded that these statements were capable of a defamatory meaning and that a jury could conclude that they contained underlying assertions of fact. Sollami v. Shepphard, 799 N.Y.S.2d 427 (N.Y. App. Div. 2005). The appellate court sent the case back to the lower court for trial.

Trial commenced in May 2007, but the judge declared a mistrial weeks later when Sollami's lawyer became incapacitated due to a back injury. Retrial is pending.

Update:

4/11/2008 - Jury selection began for a new trial.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • New York

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • New York

Court Name: 

New York Supreme Court, Orange County

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

0007550/2003
CMLP Information (Private)

CMLP Notes: 

to-do: monitor status; try to get underlying court documents from lawyers

Status updated on 6/9/2008, new trial appears to be underway, according to NY docket (search on docket number).  (AAB)