For Immediate Release
July 28, 2016
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
P!nk Cover Band Suit Finally Comes to an End
Victim: Current Legal Climate ‘Inhumane,’ Court ‘Should Be Embarrassed’
Albany, NY – Last week, singer Collette McLafferty entered The Supreme Court of Riverhead to discuss the conduct of Charles Bonfante, the lawyer who filed an abusive $10 million lawsuit against her following just one $75 gig with a P!nk cover band he co-created. After more than two years and $15,000 fighting the suit, this day in court would be the first time Collette ever met Mr. Bonfante face-to-face.
When McLafferty was presented with the lawsuit in 2014, her life was sent into a tailspin – legally, professionally, and emotionally.
“I didn’t get out of bed for an entire month. I felt numb, depleted,” Collette explained.
Refusing to succumb to the chaos, Collette partnered with the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, shifting from victim to advocate, to promote awareness of and put an end to lawsuit abuse. Together they collaborated on the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, also known as “Collette’s Law,” to increase sanctions against those who file abusive lawsuits and require them to pay the other party’s legal fees.
Following these efforts, Collette hoped her story would resonate with the court, but with little confidence in their taking proper action to compensate her suffering and with an offer from Mr. Bonfante, Collette chose to settle.
“After two years in litigation and $15,000 in legal fees, I no longer had the resources to keep fighting. I settled for less than I deserved,” said McLafferty.
While Collette is happy that Bonfante is finally taking some responsibility and has agreed to cover most of her legal fees, therapy bills, and will issue a public apology, she is “thoroughly unimpressed” with The Supreme Court of Riverhead.
“There was a complete lack of acknowledgment of my pain, time, drained finances, and my emotional well-being. The current legal climate that tolerated this case is not only unacceptable, but inhumane. The Supreme Court of Riverhead, and New York State’s legal community should be embarrassed by all of this,” stressed Collette.
Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York couldn’t agree more. “We see ridiculous and abusive lawsuits in our courts every day. While we may find them comical for a catchy headline, we have to remember there are real victims like Collette, victims who rarely see their tormentors punished,” explained Stebbins.
Stebbins urged, “We need to put into place a system where judges issue sanctions not just for stealing or egregious violations of law, but issue sanctions for abuse of law, and abuse of others through the law. We can’t have abusive cases clogging our courts for years, while legitimate cases sit on the sidelines. Our legal system should not be used as a tool of abuse, and our judges should come down hard on anyone who would use our courts to harass another.”
When asked about the sanctions process McLafferty lamented, “It’s a system by lawyers for lawyers.”
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The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit association of businesses, professionals, healthcare providers, membership organizations, taxpayers, and concerned citizens committed to changing New York’s legal system to help create jobs and energize our economy.