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July 24, 2018

Economist’s privacy claim struck out

Categories: Breach of Confidence, Data Protection, News, Privacy

US businessman fails in attempt to bring privacy claim over details of his affair and fathering of triplets that had been aired in US courts


Harlow Higinbotham, a wealthy US economist, was today revealed as the businessman who has failed in his attempt to bring a claim in the UK for breach of privacy, confidence and the Data Protection Act over publication of a Facebook page that he claimed contained his private information.

Mr Higinbotham alleged that the defendants had wrongfully disclosed details online relating to an affair he had with the first defendant and the children that he conceived through IVF with her as a result. He maintained that this information was private despite the facts relating to the affair and his parentage of the children having been repeatedly aired during the course of long-running litigation between him and the first defendant in both Thailand and the US over the past several years.

Nicklin J today handed down judgment upholding the decision of Master Yoxall below striking out the claim, finding that Mr Higinbotham’s claim had a “total absence of reality”, was harassing in nature and was not being pursued by him for any legitimate purpose. Noting the “extraordinary” nature of the case, he upheld the decision below to strike out the claim as an abuse of process, both on Jameel grounds and collateral purpose abuse, and also overturned the Master’s decision below that there was an arguable reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the information.

After losing the appeal the anonymity order formerly in place in respect of Mr Higinbotham, who was previously known as “BWK”, was discharged.

5RB’s Chloe Strong (instructed by Gibson & Co) acted for the successful defendants.

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