£50,000 Damages for Google Maps defamation

The High Court has awarded £50,000 damages to a US law firm and its principal, finding that a false posting on the firm’s Google Maps profile was defamatory.

Jason Page, the defendant, admitted that the posting of the negative review of the firm had come from his Google account, but denied that he was responsible for it.

After considering various hypothetical explanations from Mr Page, the court concluded that the most likely explanation, on a balance of probabilities, was that the posting from Mr Page’s account was authored or authorised by him. It was extremely improbable that anyone had successfully hacked into that account; there was no evidence that anyone did so and no reason why anyone with a grudge against the claimants should attempt to go down that route. The court commented that it was unclear why Mr Page wished to attack the law firm or its principal but said it was not necessary to reach a conclusion on the motive.

The court awarded the US lawyer £45,000 damages, taking into account in particular the impact upon him personally. It would have awarded a further £25,000 to the firm, but due to a voluntary cap on damages of £50,000, this was the total sum to be recovered.

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