Trkulja v Google LLC [2018] HCA 25 (13 June 2018): Defamation, publication, summary dismissal, imputations arising out search engine results

September 2, 2018

The High Court in Trkulja v Google LLC [2018] HCA 25 upheld an appeal from the Victorian Court of Appeal regarding a summary judgment application. It is a very significant decision in relation to pleading the of defamation when the imputations arise from search engine results.

FACTS

While not enamoured of the drafting the Court noted that the Appellant’s (Trkulja”) Amended Statement of Claim was  sufficiently comprehensible to convey that Trkulja alleged that:

  • Google defamed him by publishing images which convey imputations that he:
    • “is a hardened and serious criminal in Melbourne”, in the same league as figures such as “convicted murderer” Carl Williams, “underworld killer” Andrew “Benji” Veniamin, “notorious murderer” Tony Mokbel and “Mafia Boss” Mario Rocco Condello;
    • is an associate of Veniamin, Williams and Mokbel; and
    • is “such a significant figure in the Melbourne criminal underworld that events involving him are recorded on a website that chronicles crime in [the] Melbourne criminal underworld”[3].
  • Google published the defamatory images between 1 December 2012 and 3 March 2014 to persons in Victoria, including several named persons, upon those persons accessing the Google website, searching for  Trkulja’s name or alias (Michael Trkulja and Milorad Trkulja), and then viewing and perceiving the images presented on-screen in response to the search [4].
  • the allegedly defamatory matters  comprising two groups:
    • “the Google Images matter” and
    • “the Google Web matter” [5]
  • some of the pages include an image that contains text stating, inter alia, “Google lawsuit in court”, “COLOURFUL Melbourne identity Michael Trkulja” and “Mr Trkulja an associate of Mick Gatto” [7]
  •  the images matter and the web matter are defamatory of  Trkulja in their natural and ordinary meaning and  carry the following defamatory imputations:

Read the rest of this entry »

A G Coombs Pty Ltd v M & V Consultants Pty Ltd (in liq) [2018] VSC 468 (22 August 2018): failure to comply with statutory demand, interlocutory injunction, allegation of abuse of process

August 31, 2018

The Victorian Supreme Court in A G Coombs Pty Ltd v M & V Consultants Pty Ltd (in liq) [2018] VSC 468 considered and dismissed a plaintiffs’ application for injunctive relief to prevent an application under section 459 of the Corporations Act 2001 being made.

FACTS

On Friday 15 June 2018, the plaintiffs sought urgent interlocutory relief and final relief by way of an injunction to enjoin the defendant from making an application under s 459P of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to wind up each of the plaintiffs in insolvency in connection with statutory demands Read the rest of this entry »

Re Mossgreen Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2018] VSC 230 (9 May 2018): rights to owners of goods held by liquidator under Australian Consumer and Fair Trading Act 2012

May 14, 2018

In Re Mossgreen Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2018] VSC 230 Robson J considered the application of the Australian Consumer Law as against the operation of the Corporations Act and powers of liquidators.

FACTS

The auction house operating through the entity Mossgreen Pty Ltd (in liq) (‘Mossgreen’) went into liquidation on 4 May 2018. Administrators had been appointed on 21 December 2017 [1].

As an auctioneer, Mossgreen held a large quantity of goods (the ‘consigned goods’) belonging to other people (the ‘consignors’) described as being:

(a) goods delivered to it to be auctioned, but which had not yet been auctioned;

(b) goods delivered for auction, but which had failed to sell and which were awaiting collection by their owners; and

(c) goods which, although successfully sold at auction, had not been collected by the successful bidders [2].

which were stored in  three warehouses [3].

Sobraz Pty Ltd (‘Sobraz’), the plaintiff, is the landlord of one of the warehouses, situated at 1 Torteval Place, Clayton [3].

The administrators’ stocktake of the goods cost in excess of $1 million [4]. The administrators sought to levy each consignor with the sum of $353.20 per lot as a condition for releasing the lot to the consignor, asserting an equitable lien [5]. The administrators application for Read the rest of this entry »

In the Matter of Innovateq Pty Ltd [2018] VSC 124 (24 April 2018): Corporations, bringing proceedings under s 237 Corporations Act, application to wind up company, section 461

May 2, 2018

Justice Kennedy in In the Matter of Innovateq Pty Ltd [2018] VSC 124 considered an application under section 237 of the Corporations Act for leave to commence proceedings in a derivative action.  Judgments regarding leave applications are relatively uncommon.

FACTS

The proceeding involved two applications:

  • leave to the plaintiff pursuant to s 237 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) to commence court proceedings in the name of Innovateq Pty Ltd (ACN 132 372 242) (Company) against Mr Daniel Phillips (a former employee) and two companies associated with him, Certeq Pty Ltd and Certeq NZ Pty Ltd (Certeq) (Leave Application); and
  • for an order that the Company be wound up (Winding Up Application).

The Company, in its capacity as trustee for the Read the rest of this entry »

Bauer Media to appeal Wilson v Bauer Media Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 521

October 9, 2017

It was always on the cards that Bauer Media would appeal its loss in Wilson v Bauer Media Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 521. And today Bauer Media announced that it was appealing the quantum of the damages.  Just inside Read the rest of this entry »

Johnston v Holland (No 2) [2017] VSC 597 (4 October 2017): Defamation, limitation of action, extension of time, exercise of discretion, pleadings

October 8, 2017

In Johnston v Holland (No 2) [2017] VSC 597 Dixon J heard and upheld an appeal from a decision of Associate Justice Derham in Johnston v Holland [2017] VSC 448.

FACTS

The plaintiff, Johnson,  appealed the judgment of Associate Justice Derham refusing an application brought under s 23B of the Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) (‘the Act’):

  1. to extend the limitation period;
  2. to permit him to join Wayne Murray as a second defendant to a proceeding; and
  3. to amend his statement of claim.

Johnson is the principal of The Peninsula School in Mount Eliza, Victoria and the defendant, Holland, is a former director of marketing at the School and a parent of students or former students who attended the school [2].

Johnson is suing for damages for defamation arising from:

  • a series of ‘tweets’ (to approximately 26 followers) and
  • an email (to at least 30 recipients) published on 2 April 2015 to the staff, parents and students of the School.

Johnson proposed to Read the rest of this entry »

Re Convector Grain Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2017] VSC 473 (16 August 2017): Corporations Act sections 588F and 1322, power to amend, liquidator’s action, rule 3.02

September 19, 2017

Associate Justice Randall in Re Convector Grain Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2017] VSC 473 rejected an application for an extension of time on the service of originating process. In doing so his Honour undertook a very comprehensive review of the interaction of the Civil Procedure Rules with the Corporations Rules and section 1322 of the Corporations Act.

FACTS

The second and third plaintiffs, liquidators of the first plaintiff (‘Convector Grain’), sought relief under s 588FF(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (‘the Act’) that a preference in the sum of $337,928.27 be repaid to Convector Grain [1].

The liquidators were appointed as voluntary administrators in place of those originally appointed on 5 September 2013. By resolution made on 10 February 2014 they became liquidators of Convector Grain [14].

This proceeding is Read the rest of this entry »

Re Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts (Australia) Pty Ltd (No 1) [2017] VSC 499 (6 September 2017):EQUITABLE CHARGE, whether debt was secured by a charge, agreement to charge, terms of guarantee and indemnity,equitable charge,meaning of ‘will charge’, priorities

September 17, 2017

The Supreme Court in Re Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts (Australia) Pty Ltd (No 1) [2017] VSC 499 )  reviewed and considered the operation of a charge, by virtue of a guarantee and indemnity, vis a vis other claims on assets.  In this case the claim of a chargee defeated a claim by a liquidator who mounted a vigorous attack on the validity of the charge.

FACTS

Amerind Pty Ltd (receivers and managers appointed) (in liquidation) (Amerind) acted as trustee of the Panel Veneer Processes Trading Trust, which manufactured and distributed decorative and architectural finishes [1]. On 11 March 2014, the sole director of Amerind, Mr Naja David (“David”) resolved to appoint administrators to Amerind.  As Amerind’s  facilities and accounts were secured with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited on 11 March 2014 it appointed receivers and managers. Amerind was hopelessly insolvent [2]. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellar Projects (Vic) Pty Ltd v Cambridge Plumbing Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 532 (8 September 2017: section 459G of the Corporations Act, some other reason to set aside statutory demand.

September 11, 2017

The Supreme Court, per Randall AsJ  set aside a statutory demand in Stellar Projects (Vic) Pty Ltd v Cambridge Plumbing Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 532.  This was a case where the court had to consider conflicting authorities regarding a prematurely sworn affidavit. It ended up being a very bad at the office for the defendant whose statutory demand was set aside.

FACTS

The statutory demand dated 14 July 2017 claimed the sum of Read the rest of this entry »

Soper Industries Pty Ltd v Toll Transport Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 524 (1 September 2017): application to set aside statutory demand, whether there was a genuine dispute, section 459 of the Corporations Act, inconsistency between claim and documentation

September 5, 2017

The Supreme Court, per Gardiner AsJ, dismissed an application to set aside a statutory demand in Soper Industries Pty Ltd v Toll Transport Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 524.

FACTS

Soper Industries Pty Ltd (‘Soper Industries’), applied under s 459G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (‘the Act’) to set aside a statutory demand served on it by Toll Transport Pty Ltd (‘Toll’), on 15 March 2017 [1].

Under the demand Read the rest of this entry »