Rascal Ed Nusbaum is at it again. As if submitting questionable billing to clients isn’t enough, now he’s sending threatening lawyer letters to Frank Parlato, publisher of Frank Report and multiple other digital media outlets, including Art Voice, for the “high crime” of reporting all about it.
On February 24, 2023, Parlato received a letter from Nusbaum’s “hatchet man,” Alexander Trembicki Esq. of the law firm of Lynch Trembicki Boynton of Milford, CT.
Trembicki is the “Lawyers’ Lawyer” for CT Family Court’s sharks. He represents Nusbaum on a slew of matters, including a fee dispute with Karen Riordan. Trembicki also represents CT Attorney Nancy Aldrich, the lawyer suing Riordan’s ex-husband, the disgraced Hollowood Writer/Plagiarist Christopher Ambrose, for unpaid legal fees.
Only the best for Ed Nusbaum, who claims he’s a “New England Wrestling Champion.”
Trembicki’s letter demanded that certain “defamatory” and “libelous” information be removed immediately from the Frank Report and Art Voice websites. Nusbaum wants all the mean (and accurate) things Parlato said about him to magically disappear from the Internet.
Last week, Nusbaum had Trembicki send another letter demanding the removal of “libelous articles” about his client, warning that “the longer they stay up, the more [Nusbaum’s] damages go up.” Nusbaum likely expects a hefty payout for his troubles, but he may be in for a surprise.
Will Parlato have to face off against “New England Wrestling Champion” Ed Nusbaum and his hired guns? Check out the link to Trembicki’s letter and judge for yourself, but be warned: it’s a long, dull read. I’ve summarized the highlights for you below.
Will Rascal Ed Nusbaum Really Sue Journalist Frank Parlato?
Frank Parlato is compelled to respond to Ed Nusbaum’s outlandish demands, if only to defend the integrity of his reporting. The following details how that response could go.
Every one of Ed Nusbaum’s demands deserves particularized treatment. But first, here are some general points, many of which were communicated in Frank Parlato’s previous letter published in the Frank Report.
Ed Nusbaum Can’t Sue Frank Parlato in Connecticut
If Ed Nusbaum goes after Frank Parlato, he’ll likely do so in Connecticut State Court, where Nusbaum practices law and all his buddies are. It’s a cozy spot for him. But if Nusbaum claims defamation, as Trembicki’s Letter suggests, he’s gotta serve Parlato himself, per Connecticut law. He’ll need to hire a process server to knock on Frank’s door.
Since Parlato is not a Connecticut citizen, Nusbaum is, and damages exceeding $75,000 have been alleged, the case could be removed to federal court. This doesn’t bode well for Nusbaum. Any “hometown” advantage he might’ve had would vanish with the case out of the murky waters of the Connecticut State Courts.
To sue someone out of state and avoid dismissal, Nusbaum has to prove a hook that would bring Parlato to Connecticut. Lawyers call this “jurisdiction,” and the rules apply in both state and federal court.
In Trembicki’s letter’s last paragraph, Nusbaum admits Parlato is a journalist, which is correct. Frank has been an investigative journalist for decades, and his work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets worldwide.
As a journalist, Frank can’t be sued in Connecticut. Courts have already ruled it unfair to force an out-of-state journalist to answer a case in Connecticut courts based on an article reporting the news, especially on an open internet website. A judge would have to find that Frank Parlato and his media outlets injected themselves into Connecticut, e.g., via interactive website features.
Frank Parlato’s media outlets and websites are solely devoted to journalism and protected free speech. They don’t target individuals in Connecticut for commercial purposes. Neither has Parlato made any statements on the websites that he believed would affect persons in Connecticut beyond news reporting.
CDA Section 230
Nusbaum may argue (as Trembicki has done in his letter) that Parlato is liable for statements made in his websites’ comments section. Nusbaum may claim this is the hook to make Frank answer for his “First Amendment crimes,” but he’d be wrong.
The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996’s Section 230 governs online liability for third-party content. The law permits online services to moderate content on their platforms in good faith, removing harmful or illegal content, while providing a forum for free speech and diverse opinions.
Journalism, Free Press Protections, and Rule 11 Sanctions
Nusbaum’s threatening to sue a journalist for doing his job, reporting the news. But he can’t just do that without showing actual malice. That means he has to prove that the journalist knew the reporting was false or didn’t care if it was wrong.
As a newspaper man, Parlato has First Amendment rights and protections from Anti-SLAPP laws. He’s also shielded from disclosing his sources by reporter’s privilege laws recognized by Connecticut’s state and federal courts. Nusbaum won’t be able to identify any of Parlato’s sources.
Nusbaum and his lawyer should know better, being attorneys themselves. If they go ahead with a baseless lawsuit, they could be hit with monetary sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
In short, Nusbaum doesn’t stand a chance against the journalist and his news outlets. Any lawsuit is doomed to fail before even getting started.
Nusbaum’s Specific Objections to Parlato’s Reporting
Trembicki’s letter delivered an (at times comical) laundry list of “affronts” to Nusbaum and his “impeccable” reputation.
Art Voice, December 30, 2022
Nusbaum is upset about a painting of a man carrying a bag of money.
MK10ART’s painting of Nusbaum is not a defamatory act, but an artistic representation. Nusbaum’s portrayal as a wealthy lawyer could even be a compliment. The work of MK10ART is benevolent and flattering, not malicious.
Nusbaum alleges that only Karen Riordan or Parlato could have disclosed certain information about him. However, due to the reporter’s shield law and privilege, Nusbaum may never be able to uncover the truth. This is a testament to the strength of the American legal system.
Nusbaum takes issue with an article stating that criminal charges may arise from allegations of billing fraud. Such behavior is typically considered unlawful and may result in penalties such as disbarment. Similarly, the Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit dishonesty and theft from clients.
Nusbaum disputes the amount of money paid to him by Riordan but fails to provide evidence to support his claim. Therefore, there is nothing to be corrected in the reporting.
Finally, Nusbaum disputes comments attributed to specific individuals, but Section 230 provides absolute liability protection to Frank Parlato and his websites.
Frank Report, December 8, 2022
Nusbaum gripes about a Frank Report article penned by Dick LaFontaine, which alleges Karen Riordan never paid him the claimed $100,000.00 mentioned earlier.
Moreover, Nusbaum moans about comments made by Pat Karoll and Taggart Adams on the same post, which aren’t actionable under Section 230.
Nusbaum continues his grievances, pointing out a comment attributed to “Anne Dranginis,” a former appellate court judge, who denies saying, “why does the law protect thieves like Nusbaum?” Nevertheless, Section 230 shields Parlato and his websites from liability.
Lastly, Nusbaum takes issue with the statement that he has a history of misconduct, but provides no evidence to back up his objection.
Frank Report, December 1, 2022
Nusbaum claims a (non-malicious) misspelling of Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto’s name.
Frank Report, December 10, 2022
Nusbaum complains about misspellings and a comment by “Anthony Truglia” referring to “kickbacks to the judges,” covered by Section 230.
Frank Report, November 22, 2022
Nusbaum is outraged by the statement that he billed $100,000 for emails and phone calls. Karen Riordan’s bills and the current lawsuit against her show that the amount is what Nusbaum charged, and no other evidence was provided.
Nusbaum objects to the article’s claim that his clients cannot question their bills. He argues that his retainer agreement encourages clients to bring up any billing concerns with him. However, Nusbaum’s retainer also states that if clients dispute his bills, they must go through arbitration, where they have no chance for discovery and cannot challenge the basis of his billing.
Frank Report, January 14, 2023
Nusbaum gripes about FR gathering news on his cases. But that’s what the media does, report the news.
He also takes offense at the suggestion of disbarment, which stems from allegations in David DeLeo’s court documents. Nusbaum himself admits as much.
In an article that also involves Trembicki and Portanova, a comment in the section calls them “career criminals.” It’s a harsh opinion, but Section 230 protects Parlato’s website from liability.
Frank Report, January 14, 2023
Nusbaum frowns at a “distorted” portrait of himself, showing “canine teeth.” But, the image was merely a painting, an artist’s creative vision.
Nusbaum questions the statement, “The case of Karen Riordan sparked our interest, and we have already uncovered many similar cases of alleged overbilling, collusion with opposing attorneys, withholding records, and fraudulent billings.” Nusbaum wonders how Frank Report got hold of Karen Riordan’s records unless it was directly provided by her. The media outlet and its journalists are protected under the Connecticut journalist shield law and are not required to reveal their sources. Nusbaum may never find out.
Frank Report, January 13, 2023
Nusbaum takes issue with an artist’s portrayal of his face as a “vulture.” While it resembles more of a hawk or eagle, the “New England Wrestling Champion” should appreciate the comparison. After all, what lawyer wouldn’t want to be likened to Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law?
The news piece listed the names of 33 family law attorneys Karen Riordan had reached out to via email. It is what it is – reporting the facts.
A comment in the article suggests that the national media should cover the story, which is just someone expressing their opinion and exercising their freedom of speech.
A hypothetical statement bothers Nusbaum regarding Melissa Needle’s response, but it’s not actionable defamation.
Once again, Nusbaum is bothered by Section 230-shielded comments, including Alex Cuda’s alleged exclamation of “Horsesh*t” and another comment claiming “Nusbaum screws over DeLeo – Sacrifices child for profit.”
Nusbaum is also upset that Paul Boyne mentioned the “long history of legalized plunder” in the Frank Report to a Disciplinary Official. Nusbaum doesn’t deny the existence of such a history, but he’s unhappy Boyne is bringing it up in this context.
January 7, 2023
Nusbaum takes issue with accusations that he has achieved nothing of legal note, made no courtroom appearances, and fabricated many phone calls and electronic correspondence in the Riordan case. These claims are rooted in an analysis of Nusbaum’s billing records submitted to Riordan and those provided by the GAL.
Moreover, Nusbaum protests against MK10’s apparent lack of understanding regarding “no-fault divorce.” MK10’s brushwork, however, is admirable.
Nusbaum complains that his opponents dragged his son into their verbal battles, asking, “Can your kid sculpt a shark?” Another commentator, “Jesse Nusbaum,” insinuates that Nusbaum is willing to let children be abused. Parlato chimes in with his opinion, “I think we will see a documentary coming soon,” which Nusbaum finds objectionable.
Furthermore, Nusbaum takes issue with the statement Riordan accused him of fraudulent billing and withholding records. While Nusbaum insists he provided the file to Riordan’s former counsel, Nickola Cunha, there is no proof that it was delivered or accepted. Riordan denies ever receiving the file, leaving the issue unresolved.
Adding insult to injury, three paintings by MK10 Art depict Nusbaum carrying a bag of money, further “sullying” his reputation as a wealthy and successful lawyer.
Nusbaum is angered by Parlato’s opinions, which could damage his “reputation and respectability,” such as “Run. Don’t walk” and “Beware of him most of all.” As a seasoned lawyer of 50 years, Nusbaum knows that opinions are not defamatory.
Furthermore, Nusbaum is perturbed by a comment made by someone claiming to be “Roy Scheider” on the article, even though the actor died in 2008. Nusbaum seems to have forgotten that his supposed childhood hero from Orange, New Jersey, who starred in “Jaws,” is no longer with us. I wonder how many times Roy Scheider had to “put heads into the pavement” back on the mean streets of the Garden State?
If Mr. Nusbaum is serious about what he might call the “face in the pavement” arbitration, I am amenable.
If Mr. Nusbaum wishes to settle the matter in this way, please execute a release from your client, holding me harmless for any injuries he may sustain in mutual combat with me.
Upon receipt of Mr. Nusbaum’s release, I will provide the same.
As for the date and venue, I am flexible. However, I am firm that it cannot be Connecticut, where laws seem to be made up as they go.
Also, please advise if Mr. Nusbaum, you, or his designated second, plan to negotiate the rules of combat, such as the use of a weapon[s], holds barred, the obligations, if any, of the victorious party in the event of a fatality, and what legal steps we must take so that our mutual combat is judicially sanctioned in the jurisdiction of the fight.
Finally, if a further dispute arises over our contractual agreement to resolve our dispute by mutual combat, I will not consent to arbitration without discovery, and where the arbitrators are lawyers in his neighborhood who practice the same field of law as he does.
I would consent to mutual combat with a dispute clause that specifies jury trial, and with a contractually binding clause, relative to jury instructions, that the jury may apply the unwritten law of the “fair fight” and disregard punitive damages if the jury finds Mr. Nusbaum’s heirs are entitled to compensation based on the well-settled family law principle that if any person slays or permanently disables another person in a duel, the slayer must provide for the maintenance of the spouse of the person slain or permanently disabled, and for the minor children, in such manner and at such cost, either by aggregate compensation in damages to each, or by a monthly, quarterly, or annual allowance.
If this proposal meets your approval, or if you believe we should talk further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I haven’t laid my eyes on Las Vegas for years, but the fight of Parlato-Nusbaum is a spectacle you cannot afford to miss. The pressing question on everyone’s mind is how Nusbaum will handle his law firm from the hospital bed. Nevertheless, the wonders of modern technology make anything possible in this day and age.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the Parlato-Nusbaum “Big Event.”
One fact we gleaned from Nusbaum’s barrage of legal letters is his claim that his “damages go up” every day that Frank Parlato’s coverage persists. It appears Connecticut’s most notorious scoundrel missed a critical lesson in arithmetic: zeros only hold weight when a corrupt digit precedes them.
Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. Once a fixture in New York City and State politics, Luthmann is a recovering attorney who lives in Southwest Florida and a proud member of the National Writers Union.
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