Client of Mt. Laurel-based Law Firm Costello & Mains, LLC Awarded $605,000 In Defamation Claim In One Of The First In-person Trials Since The March 2020 Covid-19 Shutdown

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In one of the first in-person trials since the March 2020 Covid-19 shutdown, a Cape May County jury awarded a woman $605,000 Monday for her defamation claim.

The Plaintiff, Jacqueline McDade, is a Wildwood Crest business owner, who leased space from a local business person, Steven Paglione and his company P&P Associates. Ms. McDade alleged that after a dispute about the property, Mr. Paglione made numerous false and defamatory comments about her to people she knew and conducted business with. The alleged comments included false statements of a sexual nature.

After a five-day trial, an in-person jury found that Mr. Paglione defamed Ms. McDade, and awarded her $605,000 in damages. The jury awarded $105,000 for emotional distress and $500,000 in punitive damages. The law office of Costello & Mains, LLC represented Ms. McDade, and Drake P. Bearden, Jr., a partner at the firm, tried the case.

“Trying a case after Covid-19 was a unique experience. The jurors were not in the jury box, but spread throughout the Courtroom, and they were wearing masks. All things considered, I believe the process worked, and we are happy we were able to try the case and get Ms. McDade the justice she deserved,” Mr. Bearden stated after the verdict. He added that, “One of lessons I quickly learned during this trial is that we can still make the court system work under almost any circumstance. It is critical that all litigants get their day in court. As the adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied. We look forward to continuing to push the envelope on trials in New Jersey.”

For further information, please contact Jennifer Keltos at Costello & Mains, LLC, (856) 727-9700,

Jacqueline McDade v. P&P Associates, Inc., et al.
Docket No. CPM-L-437-18

About Costello & Mains, LLC: The mission of our New Jersey employment, injury and civil rights attorneys is to try cases in the service of our clients and the cause of justice. That’s our “thing.” We’re at the top of our game and at the top of our field. It’s what we’re known for. Our employment attorneys are knowledgeable about every aspect of employee rights, handling cases as diverse as sexual harassment claims, employment discrimination claims, LGBTQ rights claims, transgender claims, gender discrimination claims, race discrimination claims, whistleblower claims, retaliation claims, failure to accommodate disability claims, age discrimination claims, prevailing wage claims, wage and hour class actions (overtime pay, minimum wage), national origin discrimination claims and more.

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Jennifer Keltos

Jennifer L Keltos
Costello & Mains, LLC
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