Two well-known Hoboken bloggers will have nearly $277,000 in legal fees completely paid for by Lane and Kim Cardinal Bajardi after their defamation lawsuit was thrown out in court earlier this year, according to a judge’s latest ruling.
In Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre’s 36-page decision, dated June 8, he wrote:
” … At no time did there exist any evidence of actual damages suffered on the part of Plaintiffs [sic], or actual malice on the part of the Defendants [sic].”
“The Bajardis did not simply rely on their attorney’s review of the documentation and interpretation of the law when pursuing their claim to collect on a judgement.”
“Rather this Court [sic] finds that Plaintiffs [sic] were limited public figures who manipulated their attorney to perpetuate … a SLAPP-suit disguised as a defamation case involving weighty issues of constitutionally protected First Amendment political free speech.”
Arre also questioned the motives of one the Bajardis attorneys in the matter, Jonathan Cohen, since he “admitted to having no evidence of actual malice after the discovery period had expired.”
Arre dismissed the Bajardis $2 million lawsuit against Roman Brice and Nancy Pincus, who operate the blogs Hoboken Horse and Grafix Avenger, respectively, in February – ruling that the plaintiffs were unable to provide any proof of damages.
Brice expectedly applauded the judge’s ruling:
“The Court nailed Lane Bajardiâ€™s and his wife Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi’s misrepresentations to the Court, lack of any evidence to their claims bordering on being a complete and utter “fraud on the Court,â€ he said in an email.
“Letâ€™s hear what Councilwoman Beth Mason and Richard Mason of Wachtell, Lipton have to say about how this SLAPP suit against a dozen Hoboken residents was financed to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by their political operative ‘friends.'”
Cohen and Lane Bajardi did not return calls seeking comment.
The Bajardis defamation lawsuit was against Brice, Pincus, Mark Heyer and 11 unidentified scene name defendants (anonymous online commenters).
The breakdown of attorneys fees awarded is as follows:
1. Heyer – $225,757
2. Pincus – $26,033
3. Brice – $22,687
4. The 10 screen name defendants and Heyer – $2,200