Help us protect your security and privacy. Click here to find out more.

Defamation and Bodies Corporate: Tenant ordered to pay substantial damages for email defaming Chairman

Friday, 28 June 2019

In the case of Raynor v Murray (2019) NSWDC 189, the District Court of NSW ordered a tenant in a residential building to pay damages of $120,000 to the chairman of the building’s strata committee for an email concerning an unlocked mailbox.

The email, which was sent to a number of owners in the building, complained of being harassed by many emails from the chairman and concluded that the chairman’s ‘consistent attempt to shame me publicly is cowardly’ and that it was ‘offensive, harassing and menacing through the use of technology to menace me’.

The court said every sentence of the email struck a blow at the chairman and was intended to ridicule and humiliate him in every way.

The court concluded that a substantial award was called for and awarded general damages of $90,000 and aggravated damages (given the defendant’s conduct was improper, unjustifiable and lacking in bona fides, the falsity of the imputations, the recklessness of the publication, as well as the refusal to read, let alone answer, requests made for an apology) of $30,000.

Disputes within bodies corporate which spiral into claims of defamation are (unfortunately) quite common.  This case provides a clear warning of the possible significant consequences where this occurs.

For more information or advice on dispute resolution or bodies corporate please contact Damien Hodgson or Joe Welch.

View Full Archive

Copyright © 2019 Hickey Lawyers. All rights reserved.

Site by Smart