PITTSBURGH – A North Carolina man and Pennsylvania knife manufacturer and seller recently began legal action against a Massachusetts attorney, alleging the defendant engaged in defamatory and disparaging behavior towards them in his online commentary.
Anthony L. Marfione of Henderson County, N.C. and Microtech Knives, Inc. of Bradford filed suit on Jan. 31 in the McKean County Court of Common Pleas, against Anthony F. Sculimbrene of Fitchburg, Mass. Sculimbrene removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Feb. 17.
“Sculimbrene has uttered and published and distributed defamatory statements as to plaintiff Marfione. In particular, Sculimbrene has stated that Marfione has stolen designs and committed theft of intellectual property, that Marfione is lazy and greedy, that it is Marfione’s nature to steal, that Marfione is a 'snake-in-the-grass' (meaning that he is a deceitful and treacherous person), that Marfione has been adjudicated as having infringed intellectual property rights of others, that Marfione’s actions are comparable to those of a notorious convicted murderer named Jared Lee Loughner, that Marfione declined an express invitation by Sculimbrene to comment on the statements [contained in Exhibit A] and that Sculimbrene’s statements about Marfione have the imprimatur of official action,” the lawsuit says.
“The above statements by defendant Sculimbrene have exposed plaintiff Marfione to ridicule and contempt, and have injured him in his business and trade of knifemaking; and injured his reputation. The above statements by defendant Sculimbrene were made recklessly and in conscious disregard for the harm to plaintiffs,” the lawsuit adds.
The suit says Sculimbrene had intent to cause financial loss to Microtech by stating willfully and wrongfully that “Microtech wrongfully used a knife design, that Microtech committed theft of intellectual property by releasing a scaled-down version of a knife previously produced by Microtech, that Microtech “did real harm” to the “knife business” (meaning, the knife industry) and that Microtech ripped off a competitor.”
For counts of defamation, commercial disparagement and equitable relief, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, punitive damages, interest and costs where appropriate, to remove the defamatory and disparaging statements from public access, plus other relief as appropriate.
The plaintiffs are represented by Daniel C. Lawson of Microtech Knives, Inc., in Bradford.
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org