Connolly v. Spolarich

On February 5, 2010, State Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone sided with the ACLU-NJ in dismissing Plainfield landlord David Connolly's lawsuit that sought to silence a local resident, Christopher Spolarich, who created and offered for sale t-shirts, mugs, and related products inscribed with the statement: "Connolly is a Crook and a Slumlord!" Connolly's buildings have been issued hundreds of citations for housing code violations, have pled guilty to dozens of municipal court complaints, and have paid thousands of dollars in fines. The issue in the case was whether Spolarich could be held liable for defamation as a result of his critical t-shirt slogan.

Current Status: The judge agreed with the ACLU-NJ that the terms "crook" and "slumlord" were protected opinion, and could not be deemed defamatory. The judge also noted that Connolly would not be able to prove that he had suffered any damages as a result of Spolarich's statements.

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