Real estate agent’s missing apostrophe in Facebook post turns out to be costly
An Australian real estate agent is in legal trouble after failing to attach an apostrophe to a word in a Facebook post lambasting a rival who has now sued him for libel.
Anthony Zadravic, a real estate agent from the central coast of New South Wales, faces a libel lawsuit over his punctuation error, after a court refused to dismiss the case against him, according to The Guardian.
On October 22, 2020, Mr. Zadravic lashed out at another real estate agent on Facebook.
He wrote: “Sell multi-million dollar (sic) homes in Pearl Beach but cannot pay employee pensions. Shame on you Stuart !!! 2 years and still pending !!! ”
Mr. Zadravic intended to write “of the employee”, referring to his own case, but missed the apostrophe.
He claimed in court that he abolished the post within twelve hours.
However, a New South Wales district court last week dismissed his appeal to dismiss the case. “Not paying an employee’s retirement pension can be considered unhappy; not paying some or all of them seems deliberate, ”said Judge Judith Gibson.
The court also rejected Mr. Zadravic’s claim that the cost of the lawsuit would exceed the potential amount of damages, The Guardian reported.
While the cost of the case was set at $ 160,000 (over £ 86,000), which could go up to $ 250,000 (£ 134,631); Judge Gibson said the cost overrun over the potential award of damages is irrelevant.
“I agree this is a matter of concern but unlike other jurisdictions such as the UK, Australian lawmakers have refrained from any investigation or research into the costs of defamation in this country, it is therefore unlikely to change at any time in the future, ”said the judge, quoted byThe Guardian.
The court noted two recent Facebook posts that had cost the authors dearly.
In 2020, a Brisbane vet won $ 25,000 (over £ 13,000) in damages after a client accused him of overcharging on Facebook. In 2019, an elderly care nurse was awarded $ 15,000 (around £ 8,000) in damages after accusations on Facebook of being fired due to alcohol consumption.