IMOS ‘intimidated’ Tribune receiver by putting costs of action at €700k

THE Irish Mail On Sunday (IMOS) has told the receiver for the Sunday Tribune there would be estimated costs of €700,000 if an action over the publication of an alleged fake copy of the Tribune went ahead, the Commercial Court heard yesterday.

This was a clear attempt to intimidate receiver Jim Luby and was part of the extremely confrontational approach adopted by the IMOS over the matter, John Gordon, counsel for Mr Luby, said.

In a letter to Mr Luby after the disputed publication, IMOS put an estimated costs bill for any proposed action over the “passing off” of the Tribune at €700,000 plus VAT, Mr Gordon said.

“This was clearly intended to intimidate my client.”

He argued the court should take this “frankly breathtaking” approach into account when deciding whether to grant IMOS an order requiring Mr Luby to provide security of legal costs in his proceedings against Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, publishers of IMOS, over the alleged passing off of the Tribune.

In 10,000 IMOS issues on February 6, just after the receivership was announced, a “wraparound” Tribune-style cover was published saying IMOS intended to carry on the Tribune’s tradition of independent journalism. The receiver says IMOS had no permission to do so.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan yesterday said she would give her decision on the security for costs matter on Friday.

The receiver has argued the alleged passing off made it difficult for him to sell the Tribune title because the IMOS action was in effect saying there was no residual goodwill in the paper’s title.

This was not correct for a number of reasons, including that since the paper went into receivership, it had 148,000 visits to its website which still remains in being, it was claimed.

IMOS has argued there was no evidence of any damage, loss or prejudice from the publication.

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