Duffy v Google 2016

The Appeal and Cross Appeal: March 2016

Google lost and my case set the highest global precedent in common law against a search engine. The Defendant wants to take that precedent to a higher court? Fine, bring it on!

The Appeal has been set down in front of the Full Bench of the South Australian Supreme Court for 4 & 5 May 2016. I will be represented by Paul Heywood-Smith QC and Ted Guthrie of Johnston Withers in Adelaide, South Australia. This law firm has a 70 year history of representing ordinary people (rather than corporate interests). This time I will be happily sitting in the gallery rather than the bar table.

In South Australia civil appeals are heard by three Justices of the Supreme Court. The Defendant’s appeal and our cross appeal have been filed. Last week, the Defendant failed to keep trial evidence from Ripoff Report out of the appeal case books based on their ‘too much paper’ letter to the Supreme Court.

It appears that after 5 years, three law firms, three barristers and about AUD$1.5- $2 million in legal fees, the extra paper required to include the trial evidence from Ripoff Report in the Appeal Case Book was simply too much for the Defendant. So it went crying to the court –  and lost! I neither asked nor wanted this battle, a fact that the trial Justice made clear in this costs decision. 

Since it is clear that the law on publication will be too difficult to overturn (it is not like Ripoff Report is some obscure little blog, unknown to Google) obviously the Defendant was, and is, going to try and try to hang me in the Appellate Court on the justification defence.

Needless to say, I was not impressed with these tactics and I (unregrettably) tweeted my frustration:

Clearly, even the Defendant knows they cannot overturn the publication precedent in Common Law so they are going after me on justification –  again! Whatever! The Defendant laid down the gauntlet, not me. I just wanted the links removed. Yet, Google is still trying to make me go away. They put me through hell during the trial in which I self represented.  I won because I had the evidence and the law!  Google should know by now that even all their money cannot buy the perversion of truth – at least in Australian courts.

If the Defendant thinks that after five and a half years that I will suddenly capitulate and they will win, well, that is so NOT going to happen! However, the ‘too much paper’ cry to the court really is scraping the bottom of the barrel. I am NOT ready to back down. I will NEVER back down!

The Defendant will have to fly in a new silk for the appeal because the QC who represented Google in the trial (in which I won on liability) has recently been invited to the Supreme Court. Justice Doyle is a significant legal intellect. He represented Google in the harrowing trial in which I was self-represented. All barristers are bound by their clients’ briefs and instructions. Justice Doyle is one of the youngest Australian Justices appointed to a Supreme Court. Justices must retire at age 70. The appointment of younger Justices to our Higher Courts is, in my view, a good development.  Doyle J was an excellent choice as a Justice in the South Australian Supreme Court and will make a learned, knowledgeable and fair High Court Justice should he be invited in a few years.

UPDATE February 2016: My response to further defamation by Dr Andres Guadamuz of Sussex University and my Authorized Statement on the issue.

UPDATE March 2016: My Storify Reponse to Dr Andres Guadamuz is HERE

UPDATE MARCH 2016: The Defendant Google failed to keep vital Evidence about Ripoff Report out of the Appeal Casebook

UPDATE APRIL 2016: It appears that the Defendant has failed to notice that many of my key documents in the Appeal Book (that they prepared, according to the court rules) are a little bit … ummm…faded, in key places. Their documents are clear and pristine in the Appeal Book. Oh well, we will just have to provide the Justices with clean copies.  The Defendant has used ‘kindergarten’ tactics with the documents. Seriously? A couple of million dollars on legal fees and they are reduced to this? 

UPDATE APRIL 2016 – Ready to rock ‘n Roll: All of our submissions were filed today. Under our Supreme Court court rules the Appellant files their final submissions 7 days before the Appeal and the Respondent (us) files 4 days before. Firstly, a big kudos to my legal team, Paul, Richard, Ted, Patrick and Caitlin. They have been working many late nights and on holiday weekends to finalise our submissions. They are simply amazing. It will be worth it!

Secondly, while I am sure the Defendant will, once again, try to trash me in court, at least I get to sit in the gallery this time. The trial, in which I represented myself, was absolutely horrendous. I could barely stand up from exhaustion and distress on day one against all the expensive legal representation that Google can buy. But, I did not win so much as the Defendant lost. Google should NOT have litigated a trial in which the website on which I was defamed is an extortion racket, enabled by the high Google page rank accorded to Ripoff Report. But they did – and lost! Their bad! The ‘activities’ used by Ripoff Report to game Google and take advantage of its preferred page rank over the years is documented on this website www.ripoffreportsucks.org/ And yes, I am proudly affiliated with it.

So, all submissions are filed, evidence is sorted and we are ready to go Wednesday 4 May 2016. This is a precedent in common law, or at least it will be when we win. Google has never been found to be a publisher in a common law Appellant Court. Apparently, this was Google’s problem. Even though I won my case they say that the law is not decided because it was not in front of an Appellant Court.  I say, carefull what you wish for…..

Some really good news from the UK. Mr Payam Tamiz has taken his matter to the EU Court of Human Rights. Way to go Payam! Oh, and don’t forget that the McLibel two eventually got justice in that court against McDonalds :). So what does my case here in  Australia in which I was the Plaintiff have in common with the McLibel case (in which they were the Defendants) and Payam’s action in the EU court v Google? We did not back down to corporate interests.

I am ready to go into the Appeal and feeling good! That said, self representation is SO NOT to be recommended. In Australia we have pro bono and litigation assistance funds but the problem with my case was that I filed before there was a legal precedent. It was a new area of law in which the only precedent was an 2009 interlocutory decision that favoured Google.

Google does not have the right  to come into our country, Australia, or to any other nation for that matter, and ignore our laws, our people and our rights in the untrammelled pursuit of profit! Google are the 21st c Robber Barons. 

Google is Evil? Well, they ain’t your friend!

Bring on the Appeal: May 4/5 2016.