031114 oh are mezza cappa
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COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTYCOMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
BERNIE O'HARE : CV 2012-3442:
vs. : :
TRICIA MEZZACAPPA : :
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
Heard by THE HONORABLE MICHAEL J. KOURY, JR., Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Third Judicial District, Easton, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
A P P E A R A N C E S:
BY: RICHARD J. ORLOSKI, ESQ. -- on behalf of the Plaintiff
Proceedings stenographically recorded by Nicole Candelino, Official Court Reporter.
1 * * *
2 THE COURT: Good morning. We are here in
3 the matter of Bernie O'Hare versus Tricia
4 Mezzacappa, docket 3442 of 2012. The case was
5 listed for a non-jury trial regarding damages
6 following default judgment. The case was scheduled
7 for 9 a.m. The time is now 9:26 a.m. I've been
8 informed that Ms. Mezzacappa did not appear at the
9 call of the list, is that correct?
10 MR. ORLOSKI: That's correct, and she wasn't
11 at the call of the list last week either.
12 THE COURT: Okay, so you're ready to proceed
13 in her absence?
14 MR. ORLOSKI: Yes.
15 THE COURT: Call your first witness. You
16 can testify from the witness stand or the podium.
17 Raise your right hand and state your full
18 name, spelling your first and last name for the
19 court reporter.
20 MR. O'HARE: Bernard V. O'Hare, III.
21 BERNARD V. O'HARE, III, having been duly sworn
22 according to law, was examined and testified as
24 DIRECT EXAMINATION
25 BY MR. ORLOSKI:
1 THE COURT: You may be seated. Mr. Orloski,
2 you can proceed with your examination.
3 Can you just tell me briefly what's before
5 MR. ORLOSKI: It's a hearing on damages for
6 the defamation. We're going to be requesting an
7 award for compensatory damages and for punitive
9 THE COURT: Okay.
10 MR. ORLOSKI: And we have, Your Honor, the
11 section from the standard civil practice, 1316,
12 which outlines the damages.
13 THE COURT: Okay. You, Mr. O'Hare, filed an
14 action for defamation against Ms. Mezzacappa,
16 MR. ORLOSKI: Yes.
17 THE COURT: And there was a default
19 MR. ORLOSKI: Yeah, we have a complicated
20 history. We do have the docket which I will make
21 available to Your Honor. I have some notes on the
22 first page but this is page 3, starts with the
23 filing of the complaint. It's been a procedurally
24 complicated case.
25 THE COURT: Okay. Okay, you can proceed,
1 Mr. Orloski.
2 BY MR. ORLOSKI:
3 Q. Mr. O'Hare, state your full name for the
5 A. My full name is Bernard Vincent O'Hare, III.
6 Q. And, very briefly, at some point did you go
7 to law school?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. Did you graduate?
10 A. I did.
11 Q. Were you admitted to the bar?
12 A. I was.
13 Q. And your father, what was your father's
15 A. His name was Bernard Vincent O'Hare, Jr.
16 Q. And he was also a lawyer?
17 A. He was.
18 Q. At some point you had some difficulties with
19 the bar?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. And what happened to you?
22 A. My license to practice law was suspended for
23 two years, in early 1986, I believe, as result of
24 ethical misconduct that occurred as a result of my
1 Q. And it was a suspension, not a disbarment?
2 A. It was a suspension.
3 Q. And you never applied to go back?
4 A. I have not.
5 Q. I gather this caused some anguish in the
7 A. It did.
8 Q. And what have you done to rebuild your life
9 since then?
10 A. Well, the first thing I did was I stopped
11 drinking. That was the first thing that I did. It
12 was -- it was a very dark time in my life when I lost
13 my license to practice law and I was very -- I was
14 very disappointed that I disgraced myself, I
15 disgraced my family and I disgraced my profession
16 when my license to practice law was suspended, and
17 the way that I thought about rebuilding my life was,
18 first of all, I had to stop drinking. I stopped
19 drinking, went through rehab, I went to AA meetings
20 twice a day for a year straight and got myself on
21 track with sobriety, and then I went back and began
22 searching titles on a full-time basis at the
24 Q. Now were you making a living doing that?
25 A. I did.
1 Q. And at some point did you start a blog?
2 A. I did.
3 Q. And what was -- when did you start your
5 A. I started the blog in 19 -- excuse me, in
6 2006. It's called Lehigh Valley Ramblings, and the
7 purpose of the blog was to discuss political matters,
8 local political matters and also to provide -- to
9 compliment the -- the news media because the news
10 media these days are becoming -- there have been a
11 lot of layoffs at the newspapers and they don't seem
12 to get the stories out the way they used to when they
13 were sending squads of reporters every night to cover
14 local municipal meetings, so I thought I would be
15 doing a public service.
16 Q. Was the blog labor intensive?
17 A. It is.
18 Q. How many hours did you spend on the blog per
20 A. It's a full-time job to be honest with you.
21 Q. But you enjoy doing that?
22 A. I do. It's a labor of love.
23 Q. And did you have a core of readers?
24 A. I do. I mean, it started off very low but
25 now it's up to about 5,000 readers on weekdays.
1 Q. And did you become somebody that reporters
2 contacted regularly for information?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. And at some point did you become involved
5 with Tricia Mezzacappa?
6 A. Yes, she was one of my blog readers and she
7 began attending counsel meetings that I was attending
8 and told me that she was a walker and I went on some
9 walks with her.
10 Q. Was she also involved in political
11 activities as a candidate?
12 A. Pardon me?
13 Q. Was she involved in political --
14 A. Yes, she was running for office. She was
15 running for West Easton Borough Counsel at the time
16 and was claiming there was all kinds of ethical
17 improprieties and corruption going on in West Easton
19 Q. Do you remember when that happened, when you
20 started interacting with her?
21 A. It was in 2011.
22 Q. And did you write any articles about her as
23 a political candidate?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Would you characterize them as positive or
2 A. Very negative.
3 Q. As a result of that did she start
4 communicating about you?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. What types of things was she saying about
8 A. Well, she called me a rapist, claimed that I
9 had sexually assaulted her, claimed that I had
10 attempted to poison her pet pig, claimed that I had
11 burglarized her home on numerous occasions, claimed
12 that I stalked her on a regular basis and also
13 claimed that I was a pedophile.
14 Q. Okay, now let's back up. Have you ever been
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And do you have any children?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. Do your children have any children?
20 A. They do not.
21 Q. Do you have a relationship with somebody who
22 does have grandchildren?
23 A. That's correct. After I separated from my
24 wife I developed a relationship with a another woman
25 and she has a grandson who was born very ill and he
1 spent the first six months of his life in the
2 hospital, and I became very close to him as a result.
3 Q. How old is that young man now?
4 A. He's now 14.
5 Q. And did you become actively involved in his
7 A. Very actively involved.
8 Q. In what capacity?
9 A. Basically since he had no real father I was
10 basically the -- the male figure in his life for many
12 Q. And did you start -- he was active in
14 A. Very active. Much more so than I ever was.
15 Q. And did you start going to sporting events
16 with him?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And, as a result of calling you a pedophile,
19 what happened?
20 A. Well, I can tell you that she -- she made
21 these allegations on -- on the Internet. They've
22 existed for several years and people, when I would go
23 to a game, I notice people would stop talking. I had
24 to explain myself to a couple of my grandson's
25 basketball coaches.
1 I also noticed that before this happened,
2 often times I would be asked to take some of my
3 grandson's friends to different events, to practices,
4 to baseball practice, basketball practice, football