Cardi B is the victor in yet another libel lawsuit – this time winning after a New York judge ruled Friday that the three Suffolk County beachgoers suing the “WAP” artist, her sister and a third woman over a caught-on-video verbal dispute had “failed to sufficiently plead” their case.
Plaintiffs Manuel Alarcon, Peter Caliendo and Pauline Caliendo sued back on Sept. 21, 2020, alleging that video of the altercation shared online by Cardi after it was first published by her younger sister Hennessy Carolina Almanzar unfairly accused them of being “racist.”
They said Alarcon was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and a vehicle near the Caliendos’ beach encampment was sporting a “Trump” flag when Hennessy “raged” at them with “threats, foul and intimidating language” and “defamatory statements.” They said some of the disparaging comments were directed at “Donald Trump and his supporters.” They also claimed Hennessy battered Alarcon and Peter Caliendo when she allegedly “sprayed her copious spittle” on them.
Cardi, Hennessy and a third plaintiff named Michelle Diaz, identified as Hennessy’s girlfriend, called the lawsuit “baseless” in a reply filing seeking its dismissal. The judge granted the request Friday, ruling that Cardi wasn’t even at Smith Point beach the day of the Sept. 6, 2020 confrontation, and when she shared a snippet of video later that day, she didn’t identify anyone by name or make any libelous statements.
“[Plaintiffs] have failed to allege any special harm or defamation per se,” Judge William Condon wrote in his decision. “They cannot specifically identify who the defamatory statements were made to. Further, neither Cardi B nor Michelle Diaz made any defamatory statements or publish(ed) any video to the Internet concerning the incident. The words uttered to plaintiffs do not arise to defamatory language as they were merely general insults.”
Judge Condon also ruled that Hennessy made no “menacing gestures” and never intended any spit “to make bodily contact with the plaintiffs,” so their claims of assault and battery failed as well.
Lawyers on both sides did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Rolling Stone on Friday.
In their now-dismissed lawsuit, Alarcon and the Caliendos claimed Hennessy and Diaz illegally parked their Mercedes G6 on the beach, blocking one of their vehicles.
“My sister can’t go to the beach in the Hampton’s wit out trump supporters harassing cause they were by themselves & Santa Claus was harassing my sis GF all because they are a Afro/Hispanic gay couple,” Cardi B captioned the video she tweeted Sept. 6.
You wanna know why joe gotta talk to me Candice cause I have the #1 song & yet my sister can’t go to the beach in the Hampton’s wit out trump supporters harassing cause they were by themselves & Santa Claus was harassing my sis GF all because they are a Afro/Hispanic gay couple https://t.co/OLQX2mrzbp pic.twitter.com/ISfJStODme
— Cardi B (@iamcardib) September 6, 2020
In the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed last September, the lawyer representing Cardi, Hennessy and Diaz argued that Hennessy’s statements in the video were “obviously” not meant “to be taken literally.”
“She exclaimed, ‘I got a dildo, I’m gonna shove it up your ass then your husband’s ass,’ despite the fact that she was in the middle of a crowded beach without a dildo. This hyperbolic and figurative language cannot form the basis of a defamation claim,” the filing argued.
Cardi’s legal win on Friday filed after she won a $4 million defamation verdict against YouTube blogger Tasha K in January. In that case, Cardi was the plaintiff, and she successfully convinced a jury that she was defamed with false claims she had herpes, used cocaine and worked as a prostitute.