Cooney Complaint

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Cooney Complaint

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    OLAS COONEY, PRO SE

    i 4

    S. Hicks St.

    delphia, PA 19146

    904-6004

    nickcooney@gmaiLcom

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE

    EAS TERN DISTRICT OF PENNS YLVANIA

    NICHOLAS COONEY, an individuaL )

    Case No. ~ )Plaintiff, ) COMPLAINT FOR D!MAGES

    vs. ) ) 1. Defamation ) 2. False Light

    Adam Weissman, an individual; Stephanie ) 3. Intentional Infliction Of

    Wilson, an individual; Wetlands Activism ~ Emotional Distress Collective, a business; and JOHN DOES 1-50, ) Inclusive. ) [Unlimited Case Over 15,000.00]lDefendants. )

    ) ) )

    ~

    1--------------)

    Plaintiff Nicholas Cooney brings this suit for damages for the improper and unlawful

    defamation,campaign launched against him by Defendants. In support thereof Plaintiff states the

    following:

    I. INTRODUCTION

    Defendants Stephanie Wilson, Adam Weissman, and Wetlands Activism Collective have

    engaged in a concerted defamation campaign which seeks to ruin the reputation ofNicholas

    COMPUUNTFORDAMAGES

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    Case 2:11-cv-02425-PBT Document 1 Filed 04/07/11 Page 1 of 13

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    Cooney, an author and well-respected leader within the animal protection field. Defendants have

    disseminated defamatory accusations about Mr. Cooney through word ofmouth, phone, email,

    web sites, internet postings, and printed flyers. Although the information spewing from these

    sources is false, Mr. Cooney has suffered substantial and likely irreparable damage to his

    reputation. Defendants must take responsibility for their abuse ofthe right to free speech.

    It is when free speech morphs into defamation that we tum to the courts for help. Mr.

    Cooney wants his life back; he wants to save his reputation in the court of public opinion.

    II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

    1. Jurisdiction of this court arises pursuant to Article III Section 2 ofthe United States

    Constitution, as well as 28 U.S.C. Section 1332 (a) (1) which states that "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction ofall civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of$75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between ... citizens of different States."

    2. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1391 (a) (3) which states that "A civil action wherein jurisdiction is founded only on diversity of citizenship may, except as otherwise provided by law, be brought only in ... a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred. "

    3. This Court has personal jurisdiction over the out of state defendants based on the Pennsylvania long-arm statute, 42 P.S. 5322, under which a court's sole inquiry is whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction would be constitutional. Specific jurisdiction is established where the non-resident defendants have purposefully directed their activities at a resident ofPennsylvania and the injury arises from those activities.

    4. Defendants' defamatory claims included directly contacting professional colleagues of

    Mr. Cooney that live in Pennsylvania.

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    COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

    Case 2:11-cv-02425-PBT Document 1 Filed 04/07/11 Page 2 of 13

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    5. Defendants' defamatory claims included contacting professional and personal colleagues

    ofMr. Cooney that live in Pennsylvania via an emaillistserv.

    6. Defandats' defamatory claims were made with an explicit goal of harming Mr. Cooney's

    ability to sell his book, an economic activity carried out by Me Cooney in Pennsylvania

    where he sells and ships books from.

    7. The damage to Mr. Cooney's reputation occurs primarily in Pennsylvania, where he lives

    and works as the director ofan animal protection organization and as a published author.

    See Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984) and Blumenthal v. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44, 46-48 (D.D.C. 1998).

    8. The amount in controversy exceeds 75,000 dollars.

    III. PARTIES

    9. PlaintiffNlCHOLAS COONEY (hereinafter referred to as "COONEY" or "Plaintiff') is

    now and at all times herein mentioned, a natural person residing in Philadelphia, P A.

    10. Defendant Stephanie Wilson is a natural person who, upon information and

    belief, resides at 144 Lincoln Ln., Chapel Hill, NC 27516. Defendant Adam Weissman is a

    natural person residing in New York City, NY. Defendant Wetlands Activism Collective is a

    non-profit business controlled by Defendant Adam Weissman that is located at 15 Thames St.,

    Brooklyn, NY 11206.

    11. Plaintiff is unaware of the true names and capacities, whether individual,

    corporate, associate, or otherwise, ofDefendants sued herein as JOHN DOES 1-50, inclusive,

    and therefore sues those Defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiffwill amend this

    complaint to allege their true names and capacities when ascertained. Plaintiff is informed and

    believes and thereon alleges that each of the fictitiously named Defendants is legally

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    COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

    Case 2:11-cv-02425-PBT Document 1 Filed 04/07/11 Page 3 of 13

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    responsible or negligent in some manner for the occurrences, acts, and omissions herein alleged,

    and that Plaintiff s injuries and damages as herein alleged were directly and legally caused by

    that negligence, willful, or intentional conduct Plaintiff is informed and believes and on that

    basis alleges that all DOE Defendants are either residents of the State ofPennsylvania or are

    subject to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania. Each reference in this complaint to Defendant,

    Defendants, or a specifically named Defendant, refers also to all Defendants sued under

    fictitious names.

    IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS RELEVANT TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION

    12. This case is about the defamation campaign launched against Plaintiff in an

    attempt to damage his reputation so that he can no longer serve as a leader in the animal

    protection community, a field in which he has worked for the past eight years and a field which

    he has dedicated his life to serving.

    13. The defamation campaign launched against Plaintiff is also an attempt to harm

    sales of Plaintiffs recently published book and to prevent Plaintiff from engaging in public

    lectures and book sales.

    14. In February 2011, defendants contacted Blue Stockings Bookstore in New York

    City, NY demanding they cancel a planned talk and book sale by Plaintiff Defendants asserted

    to Blue Stockings representatives that Plaintiff abuses animals, physically abuses women, and

    sexually assaults women. Blue Stockings Bookstore canceled the planned talk just hours before

    the event because they did not have the ability to deal with the protest and in-store disruption of

    the event that Defendants threatened would occur.

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    COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

    Case 2:11-cv-02425-PBT Document 1 Filed 04/07/11 Page 4 of 13

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    15. Defendants passed out flyers at Blue Stockings Bookstore the evening of the

    planned talk asserting tharPlaintiffhad a history of sexual and physical violence against women

    and violence against animals.

    16. Defendants' flyer reads in part: "NICK COONEY: Abuser of Animals and

    Women. Nick Cooney has an ugly history of violence against women, including instances of

    physical, sexual and emotional violence against partners in relationships and other activists ...

    When threats have not been enough, he has followed through on those threats causing physical

    harm to companion animals in an attempt to intimidate and control both partners and other

    women." Defendants' flyer encouraged the public to boycott Plaintiffs book.

    17. Defendant Stephanie Wilson wrote and provided to other Defendants and to Blue

    Stockings Bookstore a statement in which she alleges that, while she was dating Plaintiff in

    2005-2006, Plaintiff raped her, threatened her on an almost daily basis, physically abused her,

    encouraged housemates to threaten her as much as possible, and threatened to hurt or kill her

    companion animals. Defendant Wilson requests in her statement that Plaintiff and the public not

    be made aware that she is the one making these claims. Upon information and belief, this

    . statement was written by Defendant Wilson in or around February, 2011.

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