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STATE OF MICHIGAN CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF OAKLAND 2020-182256-NO JUDGE RAE LEE CHABOT Case No: 20 -NO Hon, THERESA CAROLE NIEMIEC, Plainti ANTHONY CASA, This case has been designated as an eFiling case. To Defendant, review a copy of the Notice of Mandatory eFiling visit www.oakgov.com/efiling. Jason R. Hirsch (P58034) Pamela K. Burneski (P82039) Attorneys for Plaintiff MORGANROTH & MORGANROTH, PLLC 344 North Old Woodward Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, MI 48009 248-864-4000 jhirsch@morganrothlaw.comb pburneski@morganrothlaw.com ig Oakland County Clerk 7/10/2020 9:43 AM There is no other pending or resolved civil action arising out of the same transaction or occurrence as alleged in this Complaint. COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND ir 8 3 @ 2 o 3 oO oe a w = irae Plaintiff, Theresa Carole Niemiec (“Mrs. Niemiec”), by and though her attorneys, Morganroth & Morganroth, PLLC, for her Complaint against Defendant, Anthony Casa (“Casa”), states as follows: JURISDICT AND PAI 1 Mrs. Niemiec resides in West Bloomfield, Oakland County, Michigan with her spouse, Austin Niemiec (“Mr. Niemiec”) 2. Mr. Niemiec is a professional in the mortgage industry. Specifically, Mr. Niemiec is employed as an Executive Vice President at Quicken Loans Mortgage Services (“QLMS”), which is a team within Quicken Loans that focuses on wholesale lending. 3. Casa is a resident of New Jersey who regularly conducts business in Oakland County, Michigan, among other places. 4. Casa founded the Brokers Rallying Against Whole-tail Lending (“BRAWL”) in October 2017. = BRAWL defined “Whole-tail Lenders” as “[IJenders that pose as wholesale lenders, but steal business away from brokers by retaining loans and repurposing them for their retail division.” 6. BRAWL consisted of website and Facebook groups controlled by Casa, but is now defunct. 7. Cas also the Founder and Chairman of a Michigan nonprofit, the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (“AIME”). 8, AIME’s stated purpose is to “provide the tools, resources and support independent mortgage brokers need to compete against the retail channel and win with personalized service.” https://aimegroup.com/ (7/6/20). 9. Casa is closely aligned with United Wholesale Mortgage (“UWM"), a wholesale ender, and its CEO, Mat Ishbia (“Ishbia”), who consider themselves competitors of QLMS. UWM and Ishbia have been vocal and active supporters of BRAWL, before it became defunct, and AIME, and Ishbia is a personal friend of Casa. UWM is and has been AIME’s presenting and primary sponsor since its inception with the direct active involvement of Ishbia, 10. Casa, individually and through entities with which he is and has been affiliated, derives substantial revenue from UWM and other entities affiliated with and funded by Ishbia or his family. For example, in April 2019, Casa was employed by Premier Processing LLC (“Premier Processing”), a mortgage processing firm based in Southfield, Michigan and affiliated with UWM and Ishbia and Ishbia’s father, the founder of UWM. Premier Processing’s out-of-state corporate filings confirm Casa’s affiliation with Premier Processing 11. Casa, individually and through BRAWL, before it became defunct, and AIME, in violation of its charter, has mounted defamatory campaigns against Mr. Niemiec’s employer, Quicken Loans, and other lenders as well 12. Casa and his affilites’ key objective is to injure Quicken Loans’ business activities in wholesale lending, because Casa and his comrades fear the competition from QLMS and anything that is detrimental to Quicken Loans’ wholesale lending business is viewed by Casa as beneficial to himself, Ishbia, UWM and AIME. 13. Casa had never met nor communicated with Mrs. Niemiec, but placed her in his crosshairs because she is Mr. Niemiec’s wife. 14, Casa published and distributed derogatory, misogynistic and per se defamatory material about Mrs. Niemiee via electronic communications sent to recipients located in Oakland County, Michigan, among other places, 15, Damages suffered by Mrs. Niemiec have occurred, and continue to occur, in Oakland County, Michigan 16. The amount in controversy is in excess of $: and attomey fees. 100, exclusive of interest, costs 17. On July 2, 2020, while at a social gathering with man people in the vicinity, Casa filmed and then widely distributed and published per se defamatory video clips and drafted and sent per se defamatory text messages directed to Mr. Niemiec wherein Casa disparaged and demeaned Mrs. Niemiec (the “Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages”) 18, Specifically, and without limitation, in the Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages, Casa falsely attributes sexual acts supposedly performed by Mrs. Niemiec involving Ishbia and falsely portrays Mrs. Niemiec as promiscuous and having a lack of chastity and faithfulness (the “Defamatory Statements”) in violation of MCL 600.291 1(1). 19. Casa’s Defamatory Statements, included degrading statements intended to harm Mrs. Niemiec’s reputation and to shame and embarrass Mrs. Niemiec and Mr. Niemiec, such as, without limitation, the following: * “Pd love to meet your wife. It's amazing that’s the girl that sucked Ishbia’s dick in college.”; * “No lip kisses, that’s Ishbia’s dick on her breath.”; and * “You never trusted her anyway.” 20. Specifically, in the first Defamatory Video Clip, Casa films himself saying, “Austin, great to see you're having a great time. Love to meet your wife. It's amazing that that’s the girl that sucked Ishbia’s dick in college. I’m proud of you, brother. Way to marry up.” 21, In the second Video Clip, Casa films himself saying, “Classy my friend, I'm ready to fuck you up. Guess what, I got one more surprise for you, one big one. It’s a really really big one, And it’s not Bob Walters’ dick in your mouth. It's me fucking you up in the fourth quarter. I'm coming mother fucker.” 22. Casa also sent the following text chain to Mr. Niemiec and others, including Kevin Peranio (“Peranio”) and Ramon Walker (“Walker”) a6 ° *@0Q0¢o. 23. Casa sent the Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages to a number of people including, without limitation, Mr. Niemiee, located in the State of Michigan. 24. — In addition to publishing and distributing the Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages to Mr. Niemiec in the State of Michigan, Casa also published and distributed the Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages to others involved in the mortgage industry such as Peranio and Walker. 25, Peranio is the Chief Lending Officer of Paramount Residential Mortgage Group Inc, and Walker is a mortgage broker. Both Peranio and Walker are closely aligned with Casa, and work with wholesale lenders and/or brokers in the wholesale mortgage industry and are part of Mr. Niemiee’s professional circle. Peranio also has publicly praised both Casa and Ishbia. (https://ms-my.facebook.com/AnthonyCasaA IME/videos/prmg/22673 15609954422/, 7/7/20) 26. Peranio is a member of the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (“NAMMBA”) whose stated objectives include supporting minorities and women in the mortgage industry. https://www.nammba.org/mission_statement.php, 7/7/20. Nevertheless, Peranio has championed Casa’s Defamatory Video Clips containing the misogynistic and degrading statements about Mrs. Niemiec. 27. Both Peranio and Walker recorded video clips of each of them viewing and reacting to Casa’s Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages (the “Defamatory Reaction Video Clips”) in a disparaging, derisive and ridiculing manner. Casa then sent the Defamatory Reaction Video Clips of Peranio and Walker to Mr, Niemiec and others in a deliberate effort to “crowd shame” Mrs. Niemiee 28. In Peranio’s Defamatory Reaction Video Clip, Peranio films himself as he watches one of Casa’s Defamatory Video Clips. Peranio then laughs so hard he spits out his drink, 29. In Walker’s Defamatory Reaction Video Clip, Walker comments on Casa’s Defamatory Video Clips saying “That had to be the funniest text train I think I’ve ever seen. This motherfucker Casa says, “Beautiful house, beautiful wife, she sucked Ish’s dick.” [laughs] I dropped my fucking phone. You are a fool. That is awesome, so awesome. I gotta toast. I gotta 1942 toast to this shit, You motherfuckers are amazing. I love you guys.” 30, The Defamatory Reaction Video Clips of Peranio and Walker were published and distributed to various friends, acquaintances and family members of Mrs. Niemiec 31, The Defamatory Video Clips and Text Messages and Defamatory Reaction Video Clips deliberately target Mrs. Niemiec because of her gender and play upon and exploit the long and deeply disturbing history of boorish and misogynistic insults by men who seek to dominate and demean the role and place of women in society. 32. The type and nature of the degrading and Defamatory Statements made and published by Casa, and championed by Peranio and Walker, are reprehensible and are especially appalling during the #MeToo era. They should not be tolerated nor diminished, nor brushed off as jokes or “boys being boys” preying on the vulnerabilities of women 33. Demand for retraction of the Defamatory Statements was made to Casa by Mrs. Niemiec, through her counsel, on July 6, 2020. 34. Despite demand for retraction pursuant to MCL 600.2911(2)(b), Casa failed and refused to retract the Defamatory Statements, Instead, on July 7, 2020, Casa sent the below antagonistic, threatening, mocking and sarcastic text mes: ge to Mr. Niemiec: Today 7:44 AM Good Morning Little Buddy, | saw the letter from your attorney. I'm teally sorry that | hurt your feelings! Give everyone my best! Can't wait to see you soon =) ae a *08eoeo 35. Casa’s July 7, 2020 text message was a direct threat to Mrs. Niemiec inasmuch, as the only place Casa could seek to “see you soon” would be at the family home Mrs. Niemiec shares with her husband. 36. Casa continued his taunting, harassing and vulgar behavior regarding Mrs. Niemiec, with the further endorsement and support of Peranio, by sending the following text messages to Mr. Niemiec and others on July 8, 2020 RRRSSEEERE wucuoues Sueecuusse seseuueueres a ® *6eero 37. Casa used the emoji symbols, the meaning of which he fully understood and which he knew would be understood by Mr. Niemiec, in order to “troll” Mr. iemiec and Mrs. Niemiec.. Casa recounted his prior abusive text message through the pictograms. Specifically, the eggplant emoji represents “Ishbia’s dick,” referenced in Casa’s prior text message. The peach emoji represents Mrs. Niemiec, and refers to female genitalia. The kiss emoji represents the “lip kisses” referenced in Casa’s prior text message. The laugh-cry emoji represents the delight and glee Casa, and recipients such as Peranio and Walker, are taking in Casa’s harassment, intimidation, humiliation and defamatory and demeaning “trolling” of Mr. Niemiec and Mrs, Niemiec. COUNT I~ DEFAMATION PER SE 38. Mrs. Niemiec hereby incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 37 of this Complaint as if fully restated herein 39, Casa made false and untrue Defamatory Statements set forth in General Allegations conceming Mrs. Niemiec which he published and distributed to recipients located in Oakland County, Michigan, among other places. 40. Casa intentionally and maliciously published the Defamatory Statements. 41. Casa knew that the Defamatory Statements were false and untrue when he published them in reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements 42. The Defamatory Statements constitute defamation per se because they refer to sexual acts supposedly performed by Mrs. Niemiee involving Ishbia and impute promiscuity and a lack of chastity and faithfulness to Mrs. Niemiec. 43. The Defamatory Statements were made intentionally with knowledge of the falsity thereof in an effort to cause damage to Mrs. Niemiec’s reputation and standing in the community, cause financial harm to Mrs, Niemiec and her family and cause embarrassment and emotional distress to Mrs. Niemiec. 44, Pursuant to MCL 600.2911 and Michigan common law, Mrs. Niemiec is entitled to recover exemplary damages by virtue of the intentional, malicious and bad faith Defamatory Statements made by Casa without any retraction despite demand therefor. 45. As a direct, natural, foreseeable and proximate consequence of the foregoing, Mrs, Niemiec has suffered damages, which are continuing, including, but not limited to, compensatory damages, exemplary damages, interest, costs and attorney fees. WHEREFORE, Mrs. Niemiec respectfully requests the following relief: (1) the immediate publication of a full retraction by Casa to each of the recipients of the Defamatory Statements by Casa personally publishing a video to each of the recipients wherein he personally makes clear that the each of the Defamatory Statements was false, untrue and fabricated and issuing a full apology to Mrs. Niemiec and her husband without sareasm or ridicule; (2) immediately furnishing a list identifying the name and contact information of each recipient of the Defamatory Statements; and (3) an Order of Judgment in favor of Mrs, Niemiee and against Casa as follows: A. Compensatory Damages in an amount in excess of $25,000 B. Exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $25,000: C. Interest, costs and attomey fees; and D. Such other and further relief as is appropriate. COUNT I FALSE L TE ION OF PRIVACY 46. Mrs. Niemiec hereby incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Complaint as if fully restated herein 10 47. Casa intentionally and maliciously made false and untrue statements concerning Mrs. Niemiee which he published and sent to recipients in Oakland County, Michigan, among other places. 48. Casa published the false and untrue statements set forth in the General Allegations. 49. Separately and in aggregate, the Defamatory Statements seek to cast Mrs. Niemiec in a false and negative light as being sexually promiscuous, lacking chastity and unfaithful to her husband, 50. The Defamatory Statements are false, untrue, degrading, demeaning, misogy: ic and highly objectionable and highly offensive to a reasonable person. 51, The Defamatory Statements were made intentionally with knowledge of the falsity thereof in an effort to cause damage fo Mrs. Niemiec’s reputation and standing in the community, cause financial harm to Mrs, Niemiec and her family and embarrassment and emotional distress to Mrs. Niemiec. 52, The Defamatory Statements are of the type that are per se defamatory inasmuch as they impute promiscuity and a lack of chastity and unfaithfulness to Mrs. Niemiec, and therefore have caused special harm and damage to Mrs. Niemiee 53, As a direct, natural, foreseeable and proximate consequence of the foregoing, Mrs. Niemiec has suffered damages, which are continuing, including, but not limited to, special harm, loss of reputation, exemplary damages, interest, costs and attorney fees. WHEREFORE, Mrs. Niemiec respectfully requests the following relief: (1) the immediate publication of a full retraction by Casa to each of the recipients of the Defamatory Statements by Casa personally publishing a video to each of the recipients wherein he personally makes uw clear that the each of the Defamatory Statements was false, untrue and fabricated and issuing a full apology 10 Mrs. Niemiee and her husband without sarcasm or ridicule; (2) immediately furnishing a list identifying the name and contact information of each recipient of the Defamatory Statements; and (3) an Order of Judgment in favor of Mrs. Niemiee and against Casa as follows: A. Special Damages in an amount of $25,000 in exce: B. Exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $25,000: C. Interest, costs and attorney fees; and D. Such other and further relief as is appropriate. COUNT I NTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRE:! 54. Mrs. Niemiec hereby incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 53 of this Complaint as if fully restated herein 55. As set forth in the General Allegations, Casa subjected Mrs. Niemiec to the circulation and distribution of the Defamatory Statements to Mrs. Niemiec’s husband, members of her husband’s professional circle and members of her family and community, 56, The extreme, outrageous, intentional and reckless statements and conduct of ies of civilized men and women and Casa as delineated herein is so repugnant to the sensibi beyond the bounds of decency that it would predictably and did in fact cause Mrs, Niemiec severe emotional distress in the past, present and will cause such severe emotional distress into the future, for which Mrs. Niemiec is entitled to compensatory and exemplary damages. 57. Casa’s conduct resulted in severe and serious emotional Niemiec. 58. As a direct, natural, proximate, and foreseeable consequence of the foregoing, 12 Mrs. Niemiee has suffered, and continues to suffer, damages for which she is entitled to recover, including, but not limited to, compensatory damages, consequential damages, interest, costs and attorney fees, and she has suffered mental anguish, physical and emotional distress, shame, humiliation, embarrassment and other compensable injuries. WHEREFORE, Mrs. Niemiec respectfully requests the following relief: (1) the immediate publication of a full retraction by Casa to each of the recipients of the Defamatory Statements by Casa personally publishing a video to each of the recipients wherein he personally makes clear that the each of the Defamatory Statements was false, untrue and fabricated and issuing a full apology to Mrs. Niemiec and her husband without sarcasm or ridicule; (2) immediately furnishing a list identifying the name and contact information of each recipient of the Defamatory Statements; and (3) an Order of Judgment in favor of Mrs. Niemiee and against Casa as follows: A. Compensatory damages in an amount in excess of $25,000; B. Exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $25,000: C. Interest, costs and attorney fees; and D. Such other and further relief as is appropriate. Respectfully submitted, MORGANROTH & MORGANROTH, PLLC 's/ Jason R, Hirsch JASON R. HIRSCH (P58034) PAMELA K. BURNESKI (P82039) Attomey for Plaintiff 344 North Old Woodward Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, MI 48009 (248) 864-4000 jhirsch@morganrothlaw.com Dated: July 10, 2020 pburneski@morganrothlaw.com 1B DEMAI FOR JURY TRIAL Plaintiff, Theresa Carole Niemiec, by and through her attorneys, hereby demands a trial by jury in the above entitled matter. Respectfully submitted, MORGANROTH & MORGANROTH, PLLC is! Jason R. Hirsch JASON R. HIRSCH (P58034) PAMELA K. BURNESKI (P82039) Attomey for Plaintiff 344 North Old Woodward Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, MI 48009 (248) 864-4000 jhirsch@morganrothlaw.com Dated: July 10,2020 pburneski@morganrothlaw.com 4