Highway Superintendent’s defamation lawsuit appealed to Appellate Court

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The attorney for the defendants in a defamation lawsuit filed by Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner is appealing to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court after Justice Tracy A. Bannister denied their latest motion to dismiss the lawsuit and compelled them to produce information requested by the plaintiff.

The notice of appeal was filed by attorney Ryan J. Lucinski Friday on behalf of the Town of Cheektowaga, former Town Supervisor Mary Holtz, and Councilmembers Gerald Kaminski, James Rogowski, and Christine Adamczyk.

The May 24th motion was filed to dismiss Mr. Wegner’s defamation lawsuit in which he claims Town lawmakers went public after voting to send an independent report investigated by the Phillips Lytle law firm regarding possible misuses of tax payers money to the State Attorney General’s Office.  Mr. Wegner says in the lawsuit that the law firm found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing yet lawmakers went public with their allegations anyway.

In the defendant’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit Mr. Lucinski argued that Mr. Wegner’s complaint failed to be explicit about what words or statements constitute the alleged defamation.

“Plaintiff’s complaint is full of suspicions, rumors, and surrounding circumstances that ostensibly substantiate his claim—but there is a palpable void of any particular words or statements that were allegedly defamatory, which were made by Defendants,” Mr. Lucinski wrote.

He wrote that Mr. Wegner could not support his claim of defamation without “going on a fishing expedition.”

Mr. Wegner’s attorney Michael J. Stachowski opposed the motion arguing that the defendants refused to provide information, specifically, a letter from the Town Board to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

“The content of the body of the letter is essential especially given the information that was obtained during our investigation which will demonstrate actual malice on the part of the Cheektowaga Town Board Majority,” Mr. Stachowski wrote.

He wrote that the letter was mentioned at a Town Board meeting which allowed the investigation to gain traction through various print and television media.

“Comments by council members to these media alleging that there is a transmittal of the investigation to the Attorney General because of criminal conduct of Mark Wegner lives on the mind’s eye of the Town citizens who hear this libelous act, this accusation of criminality,” Mr. Stachowski wrote.