C and D1 jointly founded phone business “The Pocket Phone Shop” in 1994, owning 50% each. They successfully grew the business and sold it in 2000.
In June 2012, D1 wrote and, with Ds 2 and 3, published the hardback version of his autobiography Be Careful What You Wish For. The paperback version was published in May 2013, but the passages complained of in the action were deleted.
C pleaded a draft Amended Particulars of Claim pleading claims in defamation, breach of confidence and misuse of private information.
C complained of passages in the hardback bearing what he said was the natural and ordinary meaning that he
“was sacked by his previous employer in the mobile telephone business for repeatedly sending pompous and frivolous messages, was given to panic and was ineffective in the face of ordinary business challenges”.
He also attributed to the passages the innuendo meaning that he had
“misrepresented himself to others and in newspaper interviews and articles as being a key figure in building the business from a start-up to a highly successful company, when in fact, he played only a limited and subsidiary role compared to Simon Jordan”.
C claimed that D had breached a confidentiality clause in a share sale agreement relating to their sale of the business. The clause stipulated that the provisions of the agreement and its subject matter were confidential.
C also claimed that his private information, namely that he suffered from the chronic fatigue disease M.E., had been misused by its publication in the book.
C applied for permission to amend his Particulars of Claim. D had applied for a ruling that the words complained of in the unamended Particulars of Claim were not capable of bearing the defamatory meanings attributed to them by C, and for an order that the claim be struck out as an abuse. D then submitted that the application for permission to amend should be refused for substantially the same reasons.