Lecturer secures damages in first email libel action

A COLLEGE lecturer has secured a High Court apology and damages in settlement of the first libel action arising out of defamatory emails.

Terry Casey, a lecturer in marketing at the School of Business in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), sued two colleagues over email attachments circulated by them to other staff in the GMIT in January 2005, the court heard yesterday.

It was sent by the head of Mr Casey’s department, Larry Elwood, on January 26 and recirculated the following day by Deirdre Lusby, head of the Business Studies Department.

Mr Casey, of Barna, Galway, brought the defamation action against Mr Elwood, Ms Lusby and the GMIT.

Yesterday, lawyers for both sides came before Mr Justice Éamon de Valera to tell him the case had been settled and could be struck out.

Paul Coffey SC, for Mr Elwood and Ms Lusby, read an apology stating the defendants published remarks defamatory of Mr Casey “in the way of his office, calling and profession as a lecturer” in GMIT.

“These allegations were entirely without foundation and caused the plaintiff considerable distress, anxiety and upset,” the apology stated. “The defendants and each of them accept their serious error in publishing these defamatory remarks,” They wished to “withdraw the imputations and unreservedly and publicly apologise” to Mr Casey.

The defendants agreed to pay a substantial sum in damages and costs.

Afterwards, Mr Casey said he was very happy with the settlement. No details were revealed but it is understood to be a six-figure sum.

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