DEFAMATION: Cretella v. Kuzminski
The Case Against Preditors & Editors David L. Kuzminski
The Write Agenda™
Black & White on White paper
BISAC: Literary Criticism / General
The AWWC group responded rapidly and furiously to Cretella’s movement in the interest of PublishAmerica. Consistent with court filings, on February 16, David L. Kuzminski posted a remark stating that “it’s time to report Vic Cretella to the Maryland Bar Association for attempted extortion” and that Cretella’s law firm, Gordon and Simmons, “might not want the blackeye [that] he’s giving them.” Kuzminski likewise posted a duplicate of a message that he supposedly sent to Gordon and Simmons, and additionally some parts of the Maryland State Bar Association, stating that “Cretella seems to be involved in what I would characterize as extortion” and that Cretella is “actively . . . furthering [PublishAmerica’s] unethical[,] if not illegal[,] methods.” Kuzminski added that he “fully intend[ed] to report [Cretella] to the Maryland State Bar Association.” Kuzminski’s remarks were cited in some ensuing posts on AWWC, the greater part of which extolled his response.
On February 13, 2008, Cretella sued Kuzminski for defamation in federal court in Virginia, asserting that Kuzminski’s charges were false and defamatory. Kuzminski responded with a motion to dismiss, stating that his articulations were just supposition or simply opinion.
The court dismissed two of the seven counts in the complaint, on the basis that the proclamations weren’t actionable. In any case, the court denied the motion as to the other five counts, holding that Kuzminki’s other asserted statements – the accusations of extortion and unethical conduct, embarrassment by Cretella’s former law firm, that Cretella took action against another author – all were proclamations that might be indicated to be false. The court held that “many courts have regarded accusations of unlawful activity as statements of fact.”
The matter went to the jury. On 2/4/2009, the jury returned a verdict for Cretella in the amount of $236,000.