Setback for Paul Palmieri in beach club suit

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A State Supreme Court judge in Suffolk County has ordered a hearing on potential damages against a Babylon man who targeted the Fredshore Beach Club in multiple lawsuits for more than a decade.

In an order dated Sept. 12, Judge John J.J. Jones also dismissed Paul Palmieri's answer to a 2010 suit filed by the club and its president, Lisa Ludwig, for malicious prosecution and abuse of process. No hearing date has been set on possible damages.

Palmieri bought property near the South Little East Neck Road club in 1986 and soon began complaining of noise, vandalism and trespassing. When a 1993 fire there spread and damaged his house, Palmieri sued the club and its then-board members.

Later suits concerned barbecue smoke and emotional distress, among other complaints, said Ludwig, who has been club president for about seven years.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "This is somebody that's abused the justice system horribly and we beat him at his own game."

She said that she and her husband have spent more than $40,000 in legal defense fees since 1997 and the club more than $70,000. She said she would seek to recoup the fees as well as damages, such as loss of revenue to the club.

Members have quit over fears of being sued by Palmieri, she said, and some vendors will no longer do business with the club for the same reason.

Palmieri's attorney did not immediately return a telephone call last week. A call to the Lindenhurst-based landlord rights group that Palmieri heads was not returned last week.

In 2005, though, Palmieri told Newsday that his good-faith efforts to restore relations with the club had been met with harassment and projectiles including paintballs, feces, eggs and rocks lobbed at his house, an impressive gray structure bedecked with numerous security cameras.

"All I'm doing is what's necessary to protect my family and my property," he said then.

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In addition to the beach club, Palmieri has sued Babylon Village, Babylon Town, an insurance company, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a catering company that once did business with the beach club, among others, with mixed success.

"I would hope this decision would be a wake-up call to him to stop this type of behavior," Fredshore Beach club attorney Michael Schulman said last week.

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