Bills Fan Group Wins Defamation Case Charity Forces Blogger to Pay $40K By Michael R. Caputo

(ORCHARD PARK, NY) - Bills Fan Thunder, a Western New York children's charity, today announced the group successfully proved in New York State Supreme Court that a local blogger defamed the group in blog posts published in 2014. As a result, James Kriger of North Collins, New York has been ordered to pay almost $40,000 in damages and legal fees.

"After eighteen months, we are happy to reach the end of this long road completely vindicated," Bills Fan Thunder President Charles Pellien said. "We're excited about the 2017 Buffalo Bills season and delighted generous donors have funded our effort to bring 20 at-risk youth to every regular season home game."

Bills Fan Thunder (BFT) was founded in 2014 to organize Buffalo Bills fans as their beloved NFL team was up for sale and at risk of moving to Canada. They quickly lined up 16,000 fans in opposition to a Toronto owners group led by musician Jon Bon Jovi. After the ownership crisis was resolved, BFT devoted their fundraising efforts to bringing inner-city youth to Bills games. In three seasons, the group has hosted hundreds of kids at home games.

Early in the 2015 NFL season, Kriger falsely accused Pellien and the group of larceny and fraud and widely disseminated the information on social media and his sports blog. BFT sued Kriger for defamation in October 2015 with Jeffrey Bochiechio of Bouvier Law as counsel.

On May 9, 2017, Justice Jeannette Ogden ruled that Kriger's comments "constitute defamation per se under the categories of statements tending to injure the Plaintiff's trade, business, or profession and falsely charging Plaintiff, Charles Pellien, with a serious crime." Awarded $38,289.27 in damages and legal costs, Pellien and Bills Fan Thunder have commenced collection actions.

"This was a big win for our kids because our fundraising dried up after Kriger went on a bullying tirade against our group, for no apparent reason," Pellien said. "We're thankful for Jeff Bochiechio's smart lawyering and Justice Ogden's patient consideration of our case. And with our reputation intact, we're on track to raise money to serve even more kids."

The case was marked by Bochiechio swiftly filing an order to show cause which resulted in a takedown order from the court just 10 days after BFT first contacted Bouvier Law. As the case dragged on, Kriger often refused to comply with judicial orders and even alluded to court corruption.

Founded in 2014, Bills Fan Thunder Inc. is a 501c3 non profit organization devoted to providing recreational opportunities to less fortunate children in Western New York. Our "Scoring for Kids" program sends hundreds of inner-city and economically challenged kids each season to their first Buffalo Bills regular season home game. The group raises money to donate the tickets, parking and a safe tailgate party including shelter, food, and games for the kids and their guardians

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