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Real Estate

Feb. 7, 2024

Tenant advocates prevail in libel lawsuit over mocking tweets

A Pasadena jury rendered a complete defense verdict for BASTA Inc. and its founder, Daniel J. Bramzon, in the lawsuit over a parody Twitter account mocking a landlord lawyer.

A Pasadena jury on Tuesday vindicated Daniel J. Bramzon, the founder and head of tenant advocacy firm BASTA Inc., in a libel lawsuit filed by landlords' lawyer Dennis P. Block.

"Bottom line, this is a complete defense victory across the board," one of Bramzon's attorneys, Eric D. Anderson of Redlands, said.

Block sued Bramzon, BASTA and an IT contractor working with the firm in 2017 over the parody Twitter account @DennisPBlock which Block claimed suggested that he and his staff were immoral, unethical, misogynistic and incompetent.

Those tweets, Block testified, pushed some of his attorneys to leave his firm, including his star litigator, Hasti Rahsepar. Dennis P. Block et al. v. John Doe et al., EC067254 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Sept. 5, 2017).

"It seemed like every time she went to court, a lot of times when she went to court, that she would be the subject of these vulgar tweets," Block testified. "And it was really kind of pushing down on morale. And she certainly didn't want to take cases against BASTA."

Bramzon's attorney, Blake Makoa Kawabata of Rosenberger + Kawabata, said the Twitter account was registered by the contractor Brett Schulte, and BASTA had nothing to do with it. Schulte was found to be in default and did not participate in the case.

"Even though the jury did have some issues regarding whether Daniel Bramzon or BASTA was involved in supporting or aiding the Twitter account, it boiled down to two things: No reasonable person could have taken these things seriously. Without that, you can't have defamation," Anderson said.

"The second thing is, they completely rejected the idea of intentional infliction of emotional distress. They didn't find the conduct was outrageous and they didn't find that the plaintiffs had proven Hasti Rahsepar had suffered severe emotional distress," Anderson continued. "Despite their request for $5 million, the jury gave them nothing."


Antoine Abou-Diwan

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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