Rochester dentist files defamation complaint against Rachel Barnhart, Nate McMurray

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester dentist whose party last year led to a city firefighter’s lawsuit against the city — claiming his captain took him to a racist party — has filed a claim against a Monroe County legislator and an area attorney claiming defamation and demanding a jury trial.

Nicholas Nicosia this week brought a complaint in state Supreme Court against Rachel Barnhart and Nate McMurray, claiming “defamation of his person and trade defamation and tortious interference with his business, Nicosia Dental, for the hate crime hoax perpetrated against him.”

Nicosia’s complaint claims that both McMurray and Barnhart knowingly spread false statements about his July 7, 2022 party, characterizing it as a “Juneteenth spoof party” and claiming that firefighter Jerrod Jones, who is Black, was taunted by the homeowner, as well as claiming that Barnhart was portrayed in a sexual manner.

Jones earlier this year filed suit against the city and the Rochester Fire Department, alleging a “racially hostile, discriminatory work environment” within the department. Among other instances, that suit — for which McMurray serves as Jones’ attorney — claims that the party mocked Juneteenth and county leaders, celebrating with fried chicken and including images of elected officials on the ground with spikes through them.

Nicosia’s complaint denies that the party was racist in character or any kind of spoof or mock of Juneteenth, denies that Jones was ever mocked, and denies that Barnhart was portrayed in a sexual manner. According to the complaint, claims by the defendants and calls to “cancel the Nicosias” have harmed his business, sparking the immediate resignation of his employees, and led to “a barrage of violent and hateful messages toward Plaintiff’s dental practice and his family.” The complaint includes a copy of what it says was a recent message at his dental practice threatening his children and calling on him to commit suicide.

The complaint requests that Barnhart and McMurray be held liable for defaming him and his business and ordered to pay damages. It also demands a jury trial.

News10NBC reached out to McMurray and Barnhart for comment. Barnhart responded that she would not be commenting. News10NBC is waiting to hear from McMurray.