Sunday, July 14, 2024
Advertise Here
HomeBreaking NewsBREAKING NEWS-Court awards over 350 thousand to Dr. Francis Alexis in libel...

BREAKING NEWS-Court awards over 350 thousand to Dr. Francis Alexis in libel lawsuit against Cabral Douglas

Master Carlos Cameron Michel has awarded well-known regional constitutional lawyer Grenadian Dr. Francis Alexis over $350,000 in a libel lawsuit against Cabral Douglas.

The Claimant alleged that on 26th October 2017, the Defendant published or
caused to be published via the internet, of and concerning the Claimant, and of
and concerning him in the way of his profession.

By claim form and statement of claim filed on 17th November 2017, the Claimant
commenced these proceedings against the Defendant seeking damages for libel,
including aggravated and exemplary damages, for words published by the defendant in three publications (“the Offending Publications”) and a permanent injunction to restrain the Defendant whether by himself, his servants or agents, or otherwise howsoever named, from printing or publishing or causing to be printed or published, the offending words which are referred to in the statement of claim.

Conclusion on Award of General and Aggravated Damages

I have considered all the circumstances of this case, the nature and gravity of the allegations made against the Claimant, the Claimant’s reputation, the extent of the publication, the effect of the publication including the effect on the Claimant’s reputation and the hurt and injury to the Claimant’s feelings, the Defendant’s conduct and his motives for making the defamatory statement. I have considered whether there are any mitigating and aggravating features in the case. I have also considered the comparable cases referred to above.

The Claimant however is a private citizen, albeit with a public profile. I am also of the view that the circumstances of this case, taken as a whole, are more serious than the cases from the OECS that have been referred to. Having given careful consideration to the foregoing, I am of the view that the Claimant should be awarded general damages of $225,000.00 inclusive of aggravated damages of $50,000.00.

I consider that the Defendant’s failure to acknowledge service of the Claimant’s claim and to file a defense and his refusal to offer an apology even after being written to were aggravating factors in the present case which have already been considered in making an award of aggravated damages to the Claimant. However, the Defendant’s persistence in repeating the defamatory statements, his attempts to justify his statements, his blatant breach of the interim injunction granted by the court, and the evidence of his persistence and continued conduct of repeating the defamatory allegations even after the court concluded the assessment of damages hearing but before the court issued its ruling, in my view make his conduct outrageous. The Defendant has demonstrated that he is unbothered by any sanction the law may provide.

Exemplary damages are appropriate where a mere compensatory award is insufficient to punish a defendant for their outrageous conduct. The award of exemplary damages is to mark the disapproval of the conduct and deter the defendant from repeating it. In my view, compensatory damages even if increased by aggravated damages is inadequate in this present case.

Having considered the circumstances of this case and the Defendant’s conduct, I am of the view that this is such a case that warrants an award of exemplary damages. I bear in mind that such an award should not exceed the minimum necessary to meet the public purpose of such damages, punishing the defendant and demonstrating that tort does not pay.

In my view, the Defendant’s conduct in this case is much more outrageous and egregious than the Defendant in Keith Mitchell v Steve Fassihi et al. The award in Keith Mitchell v Steve Fassihi et al was also made close to 20 years ago. The award of exemplary damages in this case must meet its purpose of marking the disdain for the Defendant’s conduct and deterring such future conduct, accordingly, a higher award is therefore justified. I would therefore award the Claimant the sum of $100,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Interest

Interest on the judgment debt shall be at the statutory rate of 6% per annum until payment in full.

Costs  

The Claimant is entitled to 60% of prescribed costs on the global award of $325,000.00 by rule 65.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules (Revised Edition) 2023 (“CPR”) and CPR Part 65, appendices B and C, for $26,250.00.

Disposition

In light of the foregoing, the Defendant shall pay the Claimant the following: (1) General damages in the sum of $225,000.00 inclusive of $50,000.00 in aggravated damages. (2) Exemplary damages for $100,000.00 (3) Interest on the global award of $325,000.00 at the statutory rate of 6% per annum from the date of this order, until payment in full. (4) 60% of prescribed costs on the global award of $325,000.00 for $26,250.00

See attached full judgment

https://natureisle.news/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Francis-Alexis-v-Cabral-Douglas-Assessment-of-Damages-Michel-M-13624.pdf

RELATED ARTICLES