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STATEMENT: LRANY Executive Director Response to $10M Dismissal of P!nk Cover Band Suit

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March 30, 2016

$10 Million “Ugly” Lawsuit Dismissed, but Highlights Need for Legislative Change

“While we are thrilled that the lawsuit against Collette McLafferty has been dismissed, it is a tragic indictment of our system that this case was not dismissed years ago. Collette has incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees from a man she has never met, and her courtroom struggle continues as she now has to go to court yet again, in hopes of recovering her legal fees.

Further, we are disappointed the court denied Collette’s “abuse of process” claim. Collette’s case received international attention precisely because its abusive nature. If this case does not constitute an abuse of process, what case does? The bar of what constitutes abuse under New York law seems so high that we have to wonder if there is any bar at all.

This lawsuit so clearly illustrates the dire need for legislative action to guide our courts and prevent people like Collette from being exploited by our legal system and those who abuse it.”

-Tom Stebbins, Executive Director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

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Contact: Phoebe Stonbely | PStonbely@LRANY.org | 518.512.5265  

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.

Collette McLafferty Maintains Strength in Fight Against Abusive Lawsuit

collette speaking lrany 2Collette McLafferty, the professional singer who was sued for $10 million back in 2014 for being “too unattractive” for a P!nk tribute band, has not given up her fight. The lawsuit abuse victim turned lawsuit reform advocate continues to combat this frivolous lawsuit while simultaneously pushing for legislation to minimize abusive lawsuits.

From the beginning of her battle, Collette has been determined to keep her story in the press to help educate others about her lawsuit and New York’s broken civil justice system. Just this week, she earned recognition in The Huffington Post, with an article by a HuffPo writer who also works with Funded Justice.

After hearing Collette’s story, LRANY developed ‘Collette’s Law,’ legislation that takes aim at frivolous lawsuits by requiring those who file meritless actions to pay the other party’s legal costs, as well as increasing sanctions for those who file frivolous lawsuits.

While many lawsuit abuse victims settle, Collette is fighting. Unfortunately despite the obvious meritless nature of this lawsuit, Collette has incurred thousands of dollars in legal costs. She is currently raising money to cover the remaining $3,500 in legal costs through Funded Justice, a crowdfunding group that helps anyone with a legal issue who needs money to hire an attorney.

In a video, which can be found on her campaign page, Collette titles these funds “a contribution to ending the culture of frivolous lawsuits in New York.” LRANY has been honored to work with Collette over the last few years and to have found such a strong advocate for change. We encourage you to take a look at her campaign page and show your support.

See her campaign page with a video here

See The Huffington Post article here

Write a message to your elected official to support Collette’s Law here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Singer Sued for $10M, Accused of being “Ugly and Untalented,” Rejects Settlement Offer and Gag Order, Vows to Fight for Meaningful Legal Reform

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For Immediate Release
September 16, 2015
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
pstonbely@lrany.org
518.512.5265

Singer Sued for $10M, Accused of being “Ugly and Untalented,” Rejects Settlement Offer and Gag Order, Vows to Fight for Meaningful Legal Reform

(ALBANY, NY) – Collette McLafferty’s life was turned upside down in 2014 when the singer and songwriter was served with a $10 million lawsuit which accused her of being “ugly and untalented” by a person whom she had never met, stemming from a job she accepted in a P!NK tribute band. McLafferty says the one hundred and twelve page lawsuit, and the corresponding international press coverage, left her “numb” and “traumatized.”

Facing untold legal fees to defend herself against absurd claims, Collette turned to the internet. While internet commenters are notoriously cruel, Collette’s story evinced great sympathy from internet users the around the world. Bloggers and writers came to her defense, and turned their sights on the plaintiff who filed the $10 million case, Charles Bonfante.

Now the tables have turned. Under international criticism, Bonfante, a personal injury lawyer who is representing himself, recently offered to drop his lawsuit and actually pay Collette “half her legal fees.” But McLafferty refuses to give in, “Nobody should ever have to go through what I’ve been through. This situation has humiliated me publicly, damaged my reputation, my career, my livelihood. This is harassment, legalized extortion plain and simple,” she said.

McLafferty has teamed up with the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal reform advocacy organization to draft “Collette’s Law.” The draft legislation takes aim at frivolous lawsuits by requiring those who file meritless actions to pay the other party’s legal costs, as well as increasing sanctions for plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits.

Tom Stebbins, Executive Director for the Alliance, stressed the need for systemic changes, “Sadly, Collette’s case is far from an isolated incident. You are more likely to get sued in New York than just about anywhere else in the world, thanks to our plaintiff-friendly laws, ineffective attorney discipline systems, and powerful trial lawyer special interest lobby.”

McLafferty is urging state lawmakers to introduce Collette’s Law and pass meaningful lawsuit reform. “My case shows just how broken our legal system really is. We need real, fundamental, reform to put an end to lawsuit abuse.”

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Watch Collette tell her story at http://youtu.be/Gf4fsrK3X8o

For more information, please contact Phoebe Stonbely at 518-512-5265 or pstonbely@LRANY.org.

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.

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