October 7, 2009
Accountant wins £30,000 damages for libel and harassment
Neighbour's conduct was obsessive and irrational
Stanley Bloom, a chartered accountant, was awarded £30,000 damages for libel and harassment by Mrs Justice Sharp today.
Following a two day trial, the Judge held that seven letters written by Margaret Robinson-Millar, a neighbour living in the same block of flats, contained very serious libels about Mr Bloom. The Judge also found that Mrs Robinson-Millar had engaged in a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of Mr Bloom and had caused him a considerable amount of distress.
Following a meeting in November 2006 where a decision was taken to spend money refurbishing a lift which Mrs Robinson-Millar opposed and a hearing before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal in July 2007, where she lost, there was a breakdown in the relationship between the directors of the property management company and Mrs Robinson-Millar began writing letters accusing Mr Bloom and others of a number of criminal offences which she continued to publish in the face of explanations provided to her from Mr Bloom and others that her allegations were untrue.
The Court found that Mrs Robinson-Millar’s behaviour over a number of months was obsessive, offensive and unacceptable and that even if Mrs Robinson-Millar did not know that her conduct was harassing of Mr Bloom it bore all the hallmarks of obsessive and irrational conduct and was plainly intolerable and upsetting to Mr Bloom.
The Court awarded £30,000 in damages and stated that the award would have been higher had it not been for the vindication provided by a reasoned judgment that set out the course of conduct and explained that Mr Bloom was not guilty of any of the allegations levelled at him by Mrs Robinson-Millar. An award of indemnity costs was also made from the date when a reasonable offer had been put forward by the Claimant.
For a case report click here.
5RB’s Adam Speker (instructed by Summers) acted for Mr Bloom.