031114 oh are mezza cappa

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  • COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF NORTHAMPTON COUNTYCOMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

    CIVIL DIVISION

    BERNIE O'HARE : CV 2012-3442:

    Plaintiff ::

    vs. : :

    TRICIA MEZZACAPPA : :

    Defendant :

    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.

  • 2

    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

    23 follows:

    24 DIRECT EXAMINATION

    25 BY MR. ORLOSKI:

  • 3

    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

    4 me.

    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

    8 damages.

    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,

    15 correct?

    16 MR. ORLOSKI: Yes.

    17 THE COURT: And there was a default

    18 judgment?

    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,

  • 4

    1 Mr. Orloski.

    2 BY MR. ORLOSKI:

    3 Q. Mr. O'Hare, state your full name for the

    4 record.

    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

    14 name?

    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

    25 drinking.

  • 5

    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

    6 family?

    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

    23 courthouse.

    24 Q. Now were you making a living doing that?

    25 A. I did.

  • 6

    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

    4 blog?

    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

    19 week?

    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.

  • 7

    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

    18 Borough.

    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

  • 8

    1 negative?

    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

    7 you?

    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

    15 married?

    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

  • 9

    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

    6 life?

    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

    11 years.

    12 Q. And did you start -- he was active in

    13 sports?

    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.

  • 10

    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

    5