Quantification Of Damages In Online Defamation Cases

Glenn v Kline [2021] EWHC 468 (QB)

Case summary

The Claimant (Martin Glenn) was the CEO of the Football Association and the Defendant (Craig Kline) was an Illinois-qualified lawyer who lived in the UK for several years and was the director of Statistical Research at Fulham Football Club.

The Defendant began harassing the Claimant accusing him of some extremely serious allegations by email and on Twitter. Making matters worse, the Defendant had a large number of followers which resulted in the untrue allegations being published in the national press. This understandably had a large impact on the Claimant both professionally and personally.

Because of the allegations the Claimant was investigated by the Football Association. They ultimately found that there was no truth to the allegations.

What was decided?

The Judge awarded the Claimant £100,000 by way of damages under Section 12 Defamation Act 2013 together with his costs. The judgment reached is particularly interesting as it gives an insight into the quantification of damages in cases involving internet harassment and defamation.

When making his award, the Judge made it clear that where claims for defamation and harassment overlap (i.e. the making of the defamatory statements amounts to harassment) any damages awarded should be a total global figure, rather than an award for each individually.

When deciding upon the value of the award, the Judge took into account the following:

  1. The specific wording used;
  2. The extent of the publication – For example, how long the posts had been public;
  3. The identity of the Defendant; and
  4. The Claimant’s evidence on distress and alarm.

glenn klineHow can Nelsons help?

Ruby Ashby is an Associate in our expert Dispute Resolution team.

If you have been affected by any of the points raised in this article or have any related queries, please contact Ruby or another member of the team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form.