Apr 1, 2014
07:35 AMConnecticut Today
Billy Smolinski's Family Loses Defamation Case Appeal; He Disappeared in 2004
Jan and William Smolinski of Cheshire believe their missing son, William “Billy” Smolinski Jr., was murdered. (2010 file photo: Mara Lavitt/Register)
The state Appellate Court has upheld a judge’s ruling that two family members of missing Waterbury man William “Billy” Smolinski Jr. should have to pay a $52,666 judgment to Smolinski’s former girlfriend.
Madeleine Gleason of Woodbridge, who dated Smolinski until they broke up just prior to his 2004 disappearance, sued his mother, Janice Smolinski of Cheshire, and his sister, Paula Bell, in 2006, claiming they harassed, defamed and falsely accused her of involvement in his disappearance.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Corradino in 2012 awarded $52,666 to Gleason, for intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and punitive damages.
This Appellate Court decision upholds Corradino’s award.
Janice Smolinski said Monday her family is consulting with attorneys and reviewing the decision. The family has the option of appealing to the state Supreme Court.
“It is incredible - we are at a loss for words at this point,” Janice Smolinski said.
Attorney John Williams of New Haven, who represents Gleason, said he is pleased with the ruling and hopes this will be the end of the case.
“I understand the (Smolinski) family’s feelings, and any person’s heart would go out to them,” Williams said. “In the process of dealing with their grief, they inflicted needless pain on an innocent person, and that was wrong. I hope they will come to accept it, and leave Ms. Gleason alone and deal with their grief in an appropriate way.”
Gleason, a school bus driver, claimed the Smolinski family harassed her, such as by putting missing person posters about Billy along her school bus route and near her home, over a long period of time.