£50,000 Damages For Online Defamation

The High Court has awarded £50,000 in damages to a US law firm after defamatory comments were posted online.

It had been alleged that one Mr Jason Page posted the following defamatory comments on the Google Maps profile of Timothy Bussey of The Bussey Law Firm PC:-

"A Google User received 10 months ago. Overall Poor to fair. Scumbag Tim Bussey, pays for false reviews, loses 80% of his cases. Not a happy camper. 3 out of 3 found this review helpful."

Mr Bussey obtained records from Google identifying that the comments came from Mr Page's personal Google account. The High Court established that Mr Page had posted the comments on a balance of probabilities (despite his "improbable" defence that someone had hacked his account) and awarded Mr Bussey £45,000 and his firm £25,000 but capped at £50,000 in total.

The judge also indicated that he would have been minded to award punitive damages against Mr Page if, as the evidence indicated, Mr Page had acted for monetary gain. However, he made no decision in this respect on the basis that damages were capped in any event.

"The case is a salutary warning that there are real consequences to posting defamatory information on the internet" says partner and head of the commercial department, Gillian Jones. "If you are going to state something as a fact then you should be able to prove that what you are saying is true."

For more information on defamation and, in particular, protecting your business reputation, contact Gillian Jones.


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