Will lawsuit muzzle free speech?
HALFMOON — Bruce Rischert spoke his mind. And for that, believe it or not, he faces a $2.5 million lawsuit.
Whatever happened to free speech?
Rischert is an average guy. The physician assistant, who turns 46 on Thursday, lives in Halfmoon with his wife and 6-year-old child. He loves the Mets and football Giants. He spends his weekends working on his house, or ferrying his daughter from one activity to the next.
But like a rising number people in Halfmoon, Rischert has grown concerned with the quantity and quality of development in a town that’s among the state’s fastest growing. In particular, he recently spoke out against a 165-unit apartment complex proposed by developer Bruce Tanski.
That should be no big deal. Every American, after all, has the right to schlep down to town hall and voice an opinion. It’s better than slumping on the couch watching “Jersey Shore,” right?
But Rischert seems to have gotten under Tanksi’s skin. Last month, the developer filed a slander and libel suit in which he seeks $2.5 million in damages and claims to have suffered “disgrace, humiliation and shame throughout the community, permanent harm to his professional and personal reputations, and severe mental anguish and emotional distress.”
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