A solicitor suing the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (Isme) Association for defamatory statements received an apology and €75,000 in damages from the High Court.
Imerick’s attorney Gerard O’Neill sued for comments in Isme’s press releases about a personal injury lawsuit in which he represented two people involved in a traffic accident, revealed by Independent.ie Last month.
In a 2019 High Court ruling, a judge dismissed one of those claims as likely to be fraudulent and the other because the evidence was misleading and exaggerated.
Based on that ruling, Isme issued three statements in 2019 – on September 23, December 11 and December 16 – which falsely suggested Mr O’Neill had engaged in professional misconduct. A complaint by Isme to the Law Society about him was dismissed.
Mr O’Neill, whose practice is in Glentworth Street, Limerick, started a High Court defamation case against Isme in 2020.
On Tuesday the High Court of Paul O’Higgins SC was told with Peter Shanley BL that the case was settled and Shane English BL would read the court an apology for Isme.
In the apology, Isme said she “wants to acknowledge that what you said was untrue and grossly unfair to Mr O’Neill both personally and professionally.
“Isme wishes to acknowledge the upset and heartache his words have caused Mr. O’Neill,” Isme said.
“Isme would like to take this opportunity to apologize unreservedly to Mr O’Neill and his family for his comments and has paid him damages and his attorneys’ fees.”
Isme chief executive Neil McDonnell announced last month that the association’s insurer had settled Mr O’Neill’s claim for €75,000. Those details were included in a letter from Mr McDonnell to Justice Secretary Helen McEntee, in which Isme complained about the ongoing delay in reforming the Defamation Act.
After the apology was read, Judge Alexander Owens dropped the case with an order of costs in favor of the plaintiff.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/business-group-isme-apologises-in-court-and-pays-75000-to-solicitor-for-defamation-42145998.html Isme group of companies apologizes in court and pays 75,000 euros to lawyer for defamation