Legal Fees for a Defamation case

Legal Fees for a Defamation case

To raise funds to proceed with as the claimants in a defamation of character case.

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On 23rd Nov 2016 we successfully raised £1 with 1 supporter in 14 days

We have obtained legal advice from a respected firm of solicitors in regard to numerous articles and comments written by an individual (the 'Defendant') about me, my father and his business. These articles are on various review websites including Yell.com and Trustpilot , as well as his twitter account and various other places, meaning they are distributed to a wide audience. The articles are highly defamatory of my father's business and each of us as individuals as it directly names both of us. The solicitors we have instructed believe there will be little difficulty in establishing the comments made are defamatory because of their overtly serious nature. For example, the Defendant repeatedly refers to us as "liars", "cowboys", "prey on vulnerable people" (this individual is a middle class man with a large and nice home and is the owner and director of a highly successful business). He's also refered to me personally as a "fraud", which would require him to prove I have a criminal record for this (which I don't, nor for anything else).

We have been advised that if the case was to proceed fully through litigation, legal costs and fees would likely be approximately £50,000.

About Us

My father and I are plumbing and heating engineers in Leeds and he runs a business as a sole trader with me as his only employee. I am a single parent to my daughter, having had full custody of her for the past 8 years. Finances are extremely tight, and this situation has been made exponentially worse by the defamatory comments of the Defendant. The phone is barely ever ringing now with work enquiries, our turnover has fallen off a cliff since he published his comments on review websites. This meant that during the summer this year, my mortgage company took out a possession order on our home and we were due to be evicted in July. It's only due to a last minute gift of money from a kind relative a couple of days before the eviction that I was able to prevent this from going ahead. This would have meant me, my 11 year old daughter, my father and my mother being made homeless as we all live under one roof because, as I mentioned, finances are tight anyway, even before the Defendant's actions.

What worries me the most is that it doesn't appear to be an isolated incident. Upon doing a little investigation into the Defendant, there are multiple examples of him aggressively attacking other businesses if they don't give them exactly what he wants when he complains. It's clear from his dealings with these other businesses that he never accepts any error on his part, even when it is spelt out to him, and that he has complete willingness to unload vile and unwarranted attacks on their professionalism.

We believe this man is extremely dangerous. He has caused devastation in the lives of me and my family, and has no understanding that you can't go around saying whatever you like about whoever you like and there'll be no consequences if it's highly defamatory and damaging. This man needs to be dragged through the courts and made to pay for the damage and utter distress he has caused us.

There's simply no way we can afford the £50k a legal case is likely to cost if it goes through full litligation, which is why I am hoping I can gain the support of some very kind people in an attempt to bring an end to the misery this man causes. Bringing this case to the courts is not about trying to obtain money, for us its all about restoring our good name that we've obtained in over 40 years of trading and teaching this man a lesson, putting an end to his damaging and dangerous behaviour. That is why in return for some of your donations we would also pass on a percentage of those damages to you.

Rewards for Donations

I can offer the following in return for your donations:

If we are successful with the case, and are duly awarded our costs, you will receive your percentage of those costs back. It is highly unlikely we would be awarded 100% of our costs back, it is more common to receive 60% - 70% of costs back, so you would receive the appropriate percentage of your donation back.

At all stages where it is possible to do so, we can make a mention of thanks which includes your name if you wish for it to be included.

In addition to this, we can also offer the following in return for your donations:

£100 or less - You will receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£500 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 0.25% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £50 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£1,000 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 0.5% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £100 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£5,000 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 3.5% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £700 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£10,000 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 7% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £1,400 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£25,000 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 20% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £4,000 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

£50,000 - As well as the proportionate return of your donation if we are awarded our costs, you will receive 50% of any damages we are awarded. (Example: if we are awarded £20,000 for loss and damages, you would receive £10,000 in addition to your proportion of costs) .You will also receive an extremely grateful thank you from my family and I, who are genuinely so grateful for your support.

For anyone living in Leeds or within 30 miles of LS18, we can also offer a more practical reward for your donation in place of those listed above (will consider any other travel distance but will have to consider accommodation requirements before confirming it is possible):

£500 - 1 day's full labour from one of us, carrying out any plumbing works, domestic gas works or any other similar works within our capabilities (doesn't include any necessary materials).

£1,500 - 3 days full labour from one of us (or 1.5 days from the 2 of us), carrying out the works expressed above (doesn't include any necessary materials). This would normally be enough time to complete a task such as a like-for-like boiler change. 

£4,000 - 2 weeks full labour from 1 of us (or 1 week from the 2 of us), carrying out the works expressed above (doesn't include any necessary materials). This would normally be enough time to complete a task such as tiling a bathroom. 

£7,000 - 2 weeks full labour from both of us, carrying out the works expressed above (doesn't include any necessary materials). This would normally be enough time to complete a task such as a like-for-like bathroom change with tiling. 

(Please note : These rewards offering labour are in place of receiving any proportion of damages or the return of any proportion of awarded costs).

Background

The Defendant contacted us with an issue he believed he was having with his underfloor heating. The issue was that moisture staining had appeared on a couple of sections of his wood flooring, suggesting a lot of moisture was passing through it. My father called out to investigate it, and carried out several tests and inspections to ascertain what the cause may be. It was then agreed that a section of his hardwood flooring would need to be cut up to see what was happening underneath, but that it didn't appear to be an underfloor heating fault because his heating wasn't losing pressure, and if it was leaking it would. The moisture staining the boards was likely to have another cause, but either way, the only conclusive way to check would be to cut up the water-damaged boards and take a look.

Upon cutting out a couple of boards it was clear there was a gap in the protective plastic barrier layer between the screed floor and the wooden flooring. This meant moisture was coming up through the screed floor and being absorbed into the piece of wood flooring.

The Defendant insists that a verbal contract had been entered into between him and my father and that, as part of that contract, my father was contractually bound to finding a replacement section of flooring and installing it. When I questioned the Defendant on this, for example asking what price was agreed, he provided no response and merely stated that he'd spelled out his instructions to my father and in doing so had created the verbal contract. I tried explaining to the Defendant that even if this was the case, this wouldn't constitute a verbal contract as it lacks any consideration (i.e. an agreed payment for the task), and if it was him giving instruction, then it even lacked agreement, each of which are necessary for the contract to have been formed.

We tried repeatedly to explain this to the Defendant and even offered to carry out the task if he agreed to the payment terms, which were the same hourly rate as charged for the work already carried out for him (i.e. investigating the cause of the moisture in the wood and cutting up a section of the flooring to enable this). The Defendant would not listen though and simply became more and more irrate and threatening, suggesting we were liable to him for full replacement of the whole floor at a likely cost of several thousand pounds. The Defendant then also started demanding a refund for the work we'd already carried out for him, which was an invoice for 3 hours labour, consisting of 2 callouts to test and investigate his underfloor heating, carefully cut out a couple of sections of his damaged wood flooring and explain the likely cause of the damage to the Defendant along with advising him of the remedy (being to cover the patch where there's no protective barrier with such a barrier to prevent the same problem happening again). We refused to refund the Defendant as there was no issue with the works that had been carried out and invoiced. His disgruntlement was his belief we were in breach of a verbal contract by not replacing the flooring. I pointed out that if we did replace the flooring, that this would be chargeable work, and as we're not flooring experts, we're heating engineers, we're probably not the most relevant people he would want to carry out this task. The Defendant simply ignored this point and continued to state we were in breach of his verbal contract.

The Defendant then threatened to start writing articles and blogs about us, saying that we're cowboys, liars, etc, and that he believes his articles will cause us "significant financial loss" and "irreversable loss of reputation". He then duly started publishing these articles and comments on numerous websites. Since this, the business has ground to a near halt, with very few enquiries for work coming through.

Further to this, at the time, I was also studying a law degree, as I have decided to take on a change in direction of my career. The Defendant, becoming aware of this and investigating where I was studying (via my LinkedIn page I believe), threatened to send all our communications to the law school I was at, along with more defamatory comments about me. He posted on the law school's Facebook page about me, claiming I'd been threatening him. The serious nature of some of the comments made in his articles has meant I am extremely concerned about trying to obtain my first training position in the legal sector, despite currently being on target to obtain a high distinction as my final grade. Any recruiter searching my name in Google will easily come across his articles because they are on the first page of Google. I have a unique name, so searches of it easily find any web pages which have reference to me, making likelihood of any employer seeing it extremely high.

The Defendant also claimed his wife had suffered personal injury due to our negligence. Nothing further came of this despite his claim that he was instructing a "no win no fee lawyer".

The Defendant also claimed that numerous newspapers wanted to write an article about his experience with us. We welcomed this stating we'd be very happy to talk to them. Again, nothing further ever came of this, when I asked for the reporter's contact details, the Defendant simply responded "No. Nice try."

Please note that this is a legal case and there is risk involved. There is no absolute guarantee of success. If we are unsuccessful in our claim, we would not be awarded and loss or damages and would be unlikely to recover the legal costs incurred.


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