SCL: Internet Libel: Gentoo v Pallion: “Internet Libel: Gentoo v Pallion
Ashley Hurst of Olswangs, the firm that acted for the successful claimants in the Internet libel case, explains the background to the case.
Last week (3 April 2008), Peter Walls, the Chief Executive of the housing company Gentoo Group, accepted an out-of-court settlement of £100,000 damages for libel and harassment from a rival housing company and its owner. The settlement represents the highest payout to an Internet libel claimant to date and sends out a clear message to Internet users that online libels can be equally as damaging as serious allegations in newspapers.
The settlement marks the end of a two-year battle between Gentoo and the corporate defendant, Pallion Housing. Earlier this year, Pallion and its owner agreed to pay £19,000 damages to the company and several of its employees who had also been defamed and abused on the Internet. They have also been ordered to pay the substantial costs of the proceedings.
So why are the damages to be paid to Peter Walls so high? The answer lies in a number of factors.”