8 Oct 2010
Eversheds scores High Court defamation victory
International law firm Eversheds has secured an unusually high award of damages in a defamation claim relating to statements published on a public forum on an American website.
In early 2009, the American website Digital Trends was hosting a forum entitled “Train2Game Scam”. The forum contained highly defamatory allegations about two businesses, Train2Game and Skillstrain (trading names of Metropolitan International Schools Limited).
The businesses are providers of distance learning courses in computer games design and development, and IT skills and book-keeping respectively. Train2Game and SkillsTrain instructed Eversheds to issue proceedings against Digital Trends.
This week, Mr Justice Tugendhat, Mr Justice Eady’s successor as Judge in charge of the Jury List, handed down his Judgment in Train2Game’s application for damages. Finding that the “scam” and other allegations published on the website were completely false, Mr Justice Tugendhat went on to award damages to Train2Game and Skillstrain in the sum of £50,000 in damages. This is an unusually high award of damages for a company claimant (as opposed to an individual whose reputation has been damaged). It reflects the seriousness of the allegations published on the website and, perhaps, the attitude of the Defendant in refusing to acknowledge the proceedings. It is an important Judgment in that it holds an American website liable for the acts of anonymous third party bloggers.
The level of damages awarded highlights the importance of website owners responding promptly to complaints and take-down notices about third party content posted on their sites.
Phil Sherrell, partner in the Eversheds’ Media team, commented:
“Eversheds is delighted to have secured such an excellent result for Train2Game and Skillstrain. The unusually high award of libel damages to a corporate reflects the Court’s finding that there was no truth at all in the grave allegations published.”
Notes to Editors
CASE: METROPOLITAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS LIMITED (T/A SKILLSTRAIN and/or TRAIN2GAME) v DESIGNTECHNICA CORP INC. (T/A DIGITAL TRENDS) AND OTHERS
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