Bresnen suit dismissed

by Beacon Staff • March 28, 2007

by a suspended broadcast journalism

senior was dismissed Monday, but the case may not be over yet. A decision issued by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse approved the defendant's motion for dismissal and denied a request by the student, Tristan Bresnen, for injunctive relief.,The lawsuit filed against 10 Emersonians

by a suspended broadcast journalism

senior was dismissed Monday, but the case may not be over yet.

A decision issued by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse approved the defendant's motion for dismissal and denied a request by the student, Tristan Bresnen, for injunctive relief.

Muse dismissed all of Bresnen's complaints

against Emerson as well as the complaints against each of the individual defendants. As a result, there will be no further proceedings in Suffolk Superior Court, but Bresnen has the opportunity, if he so chooses, to appeal the court's decision.

Bresnen was suspended last July for assaulting defendant Catherine Parrotta, a senior broadcast journalism major, and a companion while they dined in a local Bennigan's restaurant. His lawsuit against Emerson news program WEBN charges plagarism and copyright infringement for the station's continued use of graphics he created before his suspension while working for the broadcast.

In response to Bresnen's oral arguments in a hearing which took place on March 14, Judge Muse's ruling states, "The Court finds that the suspension met Bresnen's reasonable expectations related to the disciplinary proceeding, and that Emerson did not fail to act with basic fairness."

Paul Lannon of Holland Knight, LLP, the lawyer for the defendants who attended the hearing with Bresnen, provided the document to The Beacon in which Muse wrote, "The Court next considers Bresnen's request for a cease-and-desist order alleging that the defendants engaged in (1) plagiarism; (2) intent to defame and; (3) copyright infringement. As set forth more fully in defendants' memorandum, none of these claims are cognizable at law."

Parrotta, co-news director of WEBN, defendants David Haden, associate dean and director of housing and residence

life, Executive Producer of Graphics Sandra Chen and Co-News Director James Swierzbin declined comment.

As of press time, Dean of Students

Ronald Ludman, College Conduct Associate Brad Hinton, WEBN Director of Operations Jonathan Satriale, General Manager

of WEBN and journalism professor Dr. Marsha Della-Giustina, Co-Sports Director Glenn Hyatt and Co-News Director

Taylor Brennan, had not responded to written requests for comment.

In an e-mail to The Beacon, Bresnen said he is not satisfied with the judge's ruling."I've already sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education

stating that Emerson broke a federal law ... in defending itself," Bresnen said.

Bresnen also said he has alerted Lannon of his actions without response."If I continue to pursue action, it may be at the federal level, where these protections are regulated, and it may be for monetary damages, or worse, and there may be more named as defendants," Bresnen said. "Action also may continue at the state appellate level with the existing defendants."

Despite Emerson's doing what Bresnen called "steps to protect itself," the school may be forced to allow Bresnen use of the college disciplinary system to pursue his case.

Bresnen claims since he filed for copyright protection of his work in January, WEBN replaced his graphics with "an ugly, oversized, uninspired banner" and that other Emerson shows have been subtlety altering their own graphics away from Bresnen's design.

He also claims ECTV deleted episodes of its morning show, Good Morning Emerson which contained Bresnen's work. "Neither Brad Hinton nor Ronald Ludman have responded to my letter demanding disciplinary

action against students named in the suit ... " Bresnen said.

"I would be willing to not take such a drastic next step if they or representatives for them would be willing to sit down with me and take the concerns I've presented seriously," Bresnen said his next step will depend on a response from Hinton and Ludman.

"It took almost a year after I spoke up and a lawsuit for offending individuals and organizations to finally come into compliance, not to mention all the publicity and chatter surrounding it," Bresnen said.

"On paper, it may say I lost. But when you consider all these circumstances, do you really get that feeling? I don't."