Dublin, Ireland: The High Court has overturned a €50,000 defamation award made to a Dublin man against the operators of a shop whom he alleged placed a picture of him on the shop’s front door with the words “Attention Shoplifters”.
Maxela Ltd, operator of a retail unit in Tallaght Village called Rasputin in 2011 but now trading under a different name, appealed against the defamation award, made by Dublin Circuit Court after a judge found Karl Morrison had been defamed.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, ruled Mr Morrison had not proven his claim of defamation and the court had no option but to strike it out.
Mr Morrison claimed he was defamed in June 2011 when he saw his picture attached to the front door of the store, which sold goods and foods from eastern Europe. He said the picture was brought to his attention by two of his uncles.
Mr Morrison (23), who the court heard was never in trouble with gardaí, claimed he asked staff at the shop for the poster, described as being slightly bigger than A4 in size, to be taken down but it was still there about a month later.
Mr Morrison said, after his picture was posted, he had to leave his address at Kilmartin Park, Fettercairn, Tallaght as people were making adverse remarks about him. He also claimed he had difficulties obtaining employment in the area. He now lives in hostels, the court heard.
Maxela Ltd denied the claims. A director of the company, Max Bulgakov told the court the store never put up posters of Mr Morrison or anybody else.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Kearns said, in a case with “many twists and turns”, he had to decide the issues on the evidence put before him and was satisfied Mr Morrison failed to discharge the onus of proof required to prove his claim against the company.
Evidence tendered on behalf Mr Morrison, who was “confused” about certain matters when giving his evidence, lacked credibility, the judge said.
Mr Morrison had told the court he used his mobile phone to take pictures and a video clip of the poster in the shop and shown the picture to his solicitor, the judge said.
Mr Morrison lost the phone before he got the video or images printed or downloaded, his solicitor Jillian O’Shea told the High Court she had no recollection of seeing the image and her evidence was not put before the Circuit Court, he added.
A judge has awarded a Brisbane businessman a record defamation payout, including character attacks that will permanently appear on a controversial US consumer watchdog website.
According to The Guardian UK, Jarrod Sierocki and his business Insolvency Guardian have been granted a defamation payout of $260,000 plus $37,788 interest after being targeted by a disgruntled former business partner and client in online material suggesting he was “an adulterer, a fraud, a criminal, a liar, a conman and a sociopath”.
The defamation payout was four times as large as the previous highest amount awarded by a supreme court judge under a Queensland defamation regime that has capped damages awards since 1995.
Paul Klerk and Brent Thompson, Sierocki’s former partner and client respectively, attacked him on websites including the US-based ripoffreport.com, which forced them to acknowledge the material could not be removed even at their own request.
Justice Peter Flanagan, who heard evidence from a forensic computer scientist, said he accepted the ripoffreport.com posts against Sierocki were “extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove”.
Hence the online slurs against Sierocki could “never be truly driven underground”, Flanagan said in a written judgment delivered on 17 April.
“Even today, Google has [Sierocki] listed on the first page of the image search results with a picture of a person with a black hood over their head with two holes for the eyes and one hole for the mouth which looks something like a Klu Klux Klan hood,” he said.
“This picture is hyperlinked to the ripoffreport.com website which I have already observed is permanent until it ceases to operate.
“As at the date of swearing this affidavit, namely 14 March 2015, the first plaintiff is aware that there are still at least three entries on Google alleging that he is a conman, a thief and a liar.”
Sierocki is running a separate damages lawsuit against Google for featuring the publications in its search results.
Klerk, who also set up a number of websites which published the slurs, was found to have separately defamed Sierocki by emailing his wife and claiming he had “had an extra-marital affair, took illegal drugs [and] was an evil person”.
Sierocki and his wife said that they had been “consumed by humiliation and embarrassment” over the online slurs, which had been constantly raised by Sierocki’s business associates and read by family in Germany, Serbia, Poland.
The distress had triggered depression and led to Sierocki “crying himself to sleep”.
He had been forced to resign from a Freemason’s lodge, the Knights Templar and the Knights of Malta, as well as his post as chairman of the Brisbane Spartans basketball club.
Former Olympic basketballer Shane Heal, a client of Sierocki’s, gave evidence that he was contacted by a person advising him to “stay away from Jarrod Sierocki, he ‘rips people off and he can’t be trusted’”.
Although Heal later became a coach for a new women’s national basketball league team bid spearheaded by Sierocki, he “did become very wary of him for a long time” after reading the allegations on the internet via a Google search.
Sierocki’s barrister Alex Nelson told the court that the “grave and widespread allegations” had left “a permanent stain” upon his client’s reputation and “vindication” called for “a very large award”.
Flanagan said the size of the payout was partly intended to convince people they should ignore the slurs against Sierocki.
Nelson submitted that, given the grave and widespread allegations together with the permanent stain that they would leave upon the plaintiffs’ reputations, vindication was the most important feature and called for a very large award.
Neither Klerk, whose solicitors withdrew from representing him during the case, nor Thompson apologised over the defamatory material or attended court for the damages assessment.
Chetan Bhagat has now a day’s become a target for controversies.
The bestselling author Chetan Bhagat has landed himself in trouble over his “half girlfriend” novel that was published last year in October. The author who usually hits the headlines with his remarks has now been charged with Defamation by a Bihar man.
According to media reports, 67-year-old Yuvraj Chandra Vijay Singh of the erstwhile royal family of Dumraon in Buxar district of Bihar has slapped a defamation case and Rs one crore. On what grounds? Well, the author’s recent book ‘Half Girlfriend’ has been alleged to be based on a family in Dumraon, Bihar and they have slapped a 1 crore defamation suit on Bhagat claiming to have portrayed their family in a negative light.
Singh, the eldest son of Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh, the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Dumraon, has filed a petition in Delhi High Court for false and derogatory information about his family in his novel.
Singh has issued warning for further sale or circulation of the novel in its present form with immediate effect.
In the defamation suit, the publisher of ‘half girlfriend’, Rupa Publications have been named as respondents. Delhi High Court issues summons to Chetan Bhagat According to reports, the Delhi High Court has issued summons to Bhagat and Rupa Publications to appear before it on May 1st, personally or by a pleader.
In the Hindi version of ‘half girlfriend’, Bhagat has changed the name of Dumraon as Simraon.
But the erstwhile royal family wants the full retraction of the original content of the novel. Vijay’s son, Shivang Vijay Singh, a BJP leader, also said that his family told Bhagat to make the necessary changes regarding the content, but he has not taken their pleas seriously. In the novel, Bhagat has projected males of Dumraon royal family as gamblers and alcoholics. Chetan Bhagat and Rupa Publications had received the legal notice by the Dumraon family on November 14, 2014.
On Nov 24, Bhagat had tweeted, “Meanwhile, have to write letter to the family in Dumraon explaining the meaning of fiction and imaginary stories. Will do so privately.” On Nov 25, 2014, Bhagat had sent a reply to their notice in which he had expressed regret. In December, Dumraon family had said it is ready to accept “the offer of friendship” extended by eminent author Chetan Bhagat provided he tenders “unconditional public apology” and recalls all yet to be circulated copies of his bestseller, ‘Half Girlfriend’, which purportedly contained derogatory references to them.
Singh had expressed dissatisfaction over the e-mail of Bhagat sent to the Supreme Court lawyer Gaurav Ghosh as a response to the legal notice sent to him and Rupa Publications in November. Dumraon family sent another notice to Bhagat on Dec 8, 2014 and a third notice was sent on Jan 16, 2015. When Bhagat sent them a ‘vague’ reply, then the family decided to file defamation case against him. The erstwhile Dumraon Royals have been peeved with Bhagat for making “derogatory” references to them in his novel ‘Half Girlfriend’.
While Bhagat maintains that his book is a work of fiction and that it has no relevance to reality which means that the defamation claim is invalid. The author maintained that a family in Bihar feels they are a part of a fictional setup and he is not even aware of their existence to be inspired by them.
All of Bhagat’s books have been adapted by directors for Bollywood films and Half Girlfriend too will be adapted by Mohit Suri for his next film. These claims seem to be just another excuse for both sides to earn their share of fame!
An Alabama blogger from Shelby County, who spent five months in jail before agreeing to remove stories from his website about the son of a former governor, has now been ordered to pay $3.5 million in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former campaign manager for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
The Alabama blogger had written about an alleged affair between Strange and the campaign manager.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Donald Blankenship on Monday entered a default judgment against Roger Shuler and his website Legal Schnauzer for $1.5 million in compensatory and $2 million in punitive damages. The judge wrote that all the elements for the judgment were present, including that a false and defamatory statement was made.
Jessica Medeiros Garrison, a Birmingham lawyer, filed the defamation lawsuit in 2013 against Shuler. She had managed Strange’s 2010 campaign for Alabama Attorney General and served as Chief Counsel and Deputy Attorney General in 2011.
“The facts are clear and the judgment speaks for itself,” Garrison stated in an email Tuesday to AL.com. “The absolute and blatant disregard for the truth has to come with consequences. I am very happy to finally be in a position to set the record straight,” she wrote.
Bill Baxley, one of Garrison’s attorneys, also said the ruling “speaks for itself.” He said he doubts his client will be able to collect any money from Shuler, who had his house foreclosed upon a year or so ago.
Joel Dillard, another attorney for Garrison, said they are grateful that the judget returned a verdict that adequately compensates Garrison. “She is the righteous, kind, gracious working mother of a young son she adores, and this fact magnified this outrageous wrong. Shuler’s statements about her were not just libelous, they were plucked from thin air, and were cyber-bullying of the worst order,” Dillard stated.
Strange also issued a statement today.
“I am pleased the court has confirmed there was no truth to these lies and that some measure of justice has been done,” Strange stated.
Shuler failed or refused to sit for a scheduled deposition. He was sanctioned by Judge Blankenship, who then set a March hearing for sanctions and default judgment.
At the March 9 hearing the judge heard testimony from Garrison and Strange. Both testified the allegations Shuler had written that the two had an extramarital affair and had a son together were false, according to the judge’s order.
Shuler, or any lawyer representing him, did not attend the hearing.
Garrison testified that Shuler had written false comments in his Legal Schnauzer blog concerning her and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, the judge’s order states.
“The (Legal Schnauzer) comments suggested that the plaintiff (Garrison) received preferential treatment from the Attorney General because the two were engaged in an ongoing extramarital affair; and that the Attorney General was the father of the Plaintiff’s minor son,” the judge’s order stated.
Garrison testified that the comments were false and “were embarrassing, hurtful and degrading.”
“She testified further that the comments made it difficult to perform her job. She works with a national organization, The Republican Attorneys General Association,” according to the judge’s order.
Garrison also stated that since the comments have now become widely known, she constantly suffers from embarrassment and anxiety, according to the judge’s orders. “She testified that she worries about how the comments could later affect her minor son.”
Strange also testified that the comments concerning his relationship with Garrison and a photo on the website that was cropped to make it appear Strange and Garrison were alone, were false.
“The Court finds the comments defamatory,” Judge Blankenship stated in his order.
Efforts to reach Shuler for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication of this story.
Buffalo, NY, United States. An absentee landlord and rental property manager are liable for $51,840 in damages and attorney fees linked to a housing discrimination case that occurred in December 2007, according to a Buffalo-based non-profit fair-housing agency.
According to Buffalo News, the State Supreme Court Justice Patrick H. NeMoyer, who issued the judgment recently, in October 2013 upheld the City of Buffalo’s fair housing law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of legal income, as well as the independent standing of fair-housing organizations bringing claims under the law.
Housing discrimination case since 2007
In December 2007, student Naima Stewart was denied the opportunity to rent one of several Huntington Avenue apartments, owned by California landlord Donald Peterson and listed with University Property Management, because she was low-income with a Section 8 housing voucher, according to Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), which handled the case.
A HOME investigator without the voucher was given tours of two apartments but one identifying herself as a Section 8 participant was denied, and told that the owner no longer accepted recipients of housing assistance as tenants, according to HOME.