Attempt to strike out claim for exemplary damages in privacy action fails
News Group Newspapers today lost its application to strike-out the exemplary damages claim brought against it by Max Mosley, the president of motor racing’s governing body. Mr Mosley has brought an action for invasion of privacy over The News of the World’s publication of a video and article in which they allege the claimant took part in a “Nazi-themed” orgy.
Counsel on behalf of the newspaper group had argued that privacy law allowed Mr Mosley to claim only for compensatory damages, not the exemplary damages he is seeking, and applied for Eady J to strike out the exemplary damages claim before commencement of the trial next week. The judge ruled that since privacy was a developing area of law he was bound to allow the exemplary damages claim to proceed in order that the Court could make factual findings at trial prior to a ruling on the damages issue.
Counsel for Mr Mosley, has said that “no reasonable person” could have assumed that there was a Nazi theme to the orgy, a matter upon which the newspaper relies for its defence that publication was in the public interest.