SCRANTON – A prominent Pennsylvania businessman has sued his former wife for defamation of character in state court, claiming she falsely accused him of illegal drug use, drug addiction and sex addiction, harming his personal and professional reputation in the process.
Arthur B. Berry III of Stroudsburg filed suit in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 1 versus Lisa Sinkevich Berry, of Covington.
Arthur owns a number of family and child-friendly businesses across the country, including Camelback Mountain Resorts in Tannersville. According to the lawsuit, the litigants were married in 1993 in Pocono Manor and resided there for most of their married life. After experiencing difficulties in the marriage and an unsuccessful stint of professional counseling, the parties decided to separate after 19 years and Arthur left the marital home.
At that point, Arthur claims his and Lisa’s relationship became strained and Lisa began to make threats against him, allegedly saying she would “take him down.” In following through on that threat and initially unbeknownst to him, the plaintiff alleges the defendant told various falsehoods to his family, friends and business associates for the next few years, accusing him of being a drug and sex addict, and associating with “alcoholics” and “druggies.”
“Defendant’s conduct caused disharmony and detrimentally affected the relationship between plaintiff and his family, and upon information and belief, his relationship with friends and business associates, and his business,” the suit says.
For more than four years, Arthur said he was ostracized by his family, excluded from family gatherings and denied the ability to regularly visit his terminally ill father or to visit his family’s home. According to the plaintiff, it was not until he conversed with his brother in December 2016 that he learned Lisa repeatedly told members of his family that he was “a drug addict, a sex addict and on a path of self-destruction.”
Arthur claims Lisa made these same statements to other family members, friends and business associates, and that they have caused him significant emotional distress, disruption of his family life and business and diminished his standing in the community.
“Defendant’s false and defamatory statements have severely injured plaintiff in that they have tended to blacken and besmirch plaintiff’s reputation, have exposed plaintiff to contempt, ridicule or hatred by his family, friends and business associates, have detracted from plaintiff’s respect among his family and the community at large, have subjected plaintiff to emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation, and have interfered with plaintiff’s professional and personal life,” the complaint states.
For a single count of defamation, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs and “punitive damages in an amount which will punish defendant for her conduct and deter her and others similarly-situated from similar acts in the future.”
The plaintiff is represented by Jack E. Riley and Aya M. Salem of Conrad O’Brien, in Philadelphia.
Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas case 17-CV-4714
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org