Lodge Service CEO Leads Campaign to Cap Defamation Payouts

Stuart Lodge, CEO of leading security firm Lodge Service, is spearheading a push by Irish business leaders to implement caps on defamation awards in the country. Lodge was part of a joint delegation that recently met with Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne TD, to advocate for an immediate €75,000 cap on payouts in serious defamation cases.

The delegation, which also included representatives from ISME and the Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association (CSNA), argues that uncapped defamation awards pose a major threat to small and medium enterprises. They contend that frivolous claims seeking outsize payouts are increasingly being wielded as a weapon against businesses.

“We welcome proposed amendments to defamation laws to prevent vexatious claims against our members,” said CSNA CEO Vincent Jennings. “There should never be opportunities for chancers to enrich themselves unless serious harm has genuinely occurred.”

The Supreme Court has confirmed that capping damages is constitutional, with the matter now resting in the hands of the Oireachtas. The business leaders are seeking robust protections for defendants as well as penalties for offending plaintiffs in line with the EU’s anti-SLAPP Directive.

In addition to the €75,000 cap on general damages, they are advocating for compensation of 3x damages sought or the maximum court jurisdiction for defendants where plaintiffs bring unmerited cases. Reforms must also address legal costs, which are often ruinous even for defendants who prevail.

With the campaign gaining momentum, all eyes are now on the government’s next move to rein in defamation claim excesses.

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