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Staten Island Woman Slapped with $1,000 Fine for Bashing Floor Refinishing Business Online

Gavel,Law theme, mallet of judgeAs the old saying goes, everyone’s a critic. In the case of Emily Fanelli, even Roger Ebert would blush at her forward approach to criticism.

According to the New York Daily News, the 67-year-old Staten Island woman hired a flooring company to refinish the floors in her living room and dining room for $695 in February.

The floor refinishing business in question, Mr. Sandless, is owned by Matt Gardiner. Court papers note that Gardiner’s business advertises “affordable” refinishing with “green” chemicals.

Fanelli was unhappy with the finished product, and she claims the “corrective” actions the company took after she complained only made things worse.

To recoup her losses, Fanelli sued Gardiner and his company, but she didn’t stop there. She then took to two popular customer review sites, including Yelp, where she vented her concerns with the business and its owner:

“[T]his guy mat the owner is a scam do not use him you will regret doing business with this company I’m going to court he is a scam customers please beware he will destroy your floors he is nothing by [sic] a liar he robs customers, and promises you everything if you want s— then go with him if you like nice work find another he is A SCAM LIAR BULL—-ER,” she wrote.

The job Fanelli requested was a refinishing of her hardwood floors without traditional sanding and use of polyurethane. Instead of the shiny acrylic coating she was promised, she says the final product was dull and unfinished.

Fanelli may have been better off opting for carpet flooring, which most manufacturers say should last for more than 10 years. Instead, she claims Gardiner “destroyed her home,” adding that “it was a total disaster — peeling,” which led her to sue.

According to a local CBS News affiliate in New York, Gardiner responded with a lawsuit of his own, accusing Fanelli of libel for her personal attacks against the business owner.

“I believe anybody can say anything they want about a company, that’s true. Where she went too far is when she attacked me personally,” he said.

Staten Island Civil Court Judge Philip Straniere agreed with Gardiner, ordering Fanelli to pay him $1,000.

The judge also denied her request to force Mr. Sandless to pay for the services of another contractor Fanelli hired to fix the damages. However, he did rule that the company had to pay her $400 for failing to have the proper licenses to do work in the home.

Fanelli is remaining steadfast in her claim that she did nothing wrong, and came up with her own solution for Gardiner to receive his $1,000.

“I’m not giving him his $1,000. I don’t care what he does, he’s not getting his $1,000. So you know what, the judge can give it to him,” Fanelli said.

Norman Siegel, a noted civil rights attorney, encouraged Fanelli to appeal, which she says she plans on doing.

“I’m not letting him get away with it,” she said.

No word yet on if Fanelli is actually going to go forward with the appeal, or if she is just “nothing but a liar.”