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Clearson Holdings Limited

Building company claims in court it lost €500k after 'false' reviews posted on hoax websites

The High Court heard today that the company does not maintain a website.

A BUILDING COMPANY has claimed before the High Court that it has lost at least €500,000 worth of contracts after “false and defamatory reviews” were posted about it on “hoax websites” set up by unknown parties.

Clearson Holdings Limited trading as Clearson Contracts and Developments claims that it first became aware last May of the first of two misleading website which it says wrongly suggested that it was the company’s own official site.

The High Court heard today that the company, which carries outs renovations and construction works at residential properties, does not maintain a website.

The company says that the “hoax” sites were “designed in a manner “calculated to economically damage” the firm.

The sites contained fake reviews, all of which were negative, from persons purported to have been clients and customers of the company.

The company says that the names, addresses and the works alleged to have been carried out, in the reviews were unknown to it.

The reviews had been “fabricated in an attempt to make false, defamatory and damaging claims about the quality and standards of the company’s work,” the company also says.

The company established that the website, called www.clearsonholdings.ie, was hosted by IT company called Protocol Internet Technology Limited trading as Hosting Ireland.

Clearson Holdings says that after the making contact with Hosting Ireland, the first website was taken down and removed from the public realm.

A second fake website, called www.clearsonholdingsreviews.ie, was subsequently set up and re-published the allegedly defamatory material about Clearson Holdings.

Hosting Ireland, the court heard, also removed that website.

Clearson Holdings, with an address at Greemount Industrial Estate, Harolds Cross, Dublin 8, says that while the websites have been taken down, it wants to bring defamation proceedings against the unknown persons who set up and administered the websites.

At today’s vacation sitting of the High Court, barrister Eoin Morris Bl for the plaintiff told Ms Justice Eileen Roberts that thanks to the co-operation of the defendant the sites are no longer publicly available, and the urgency had somewhat gone out of his client’s action.

However, counsel said that the company wants to know who is behind the false posts and websites and bring legal proceedings against them.

Counsel said his client had “lost contracts worth at least €500,000″ due to the defamatory and false material posted about it.

Morris, instrcuted by Thomas Loomes and Company Solicitors, asked the court to grant his Clearson Holdings disclosure orders, known as Norwich Pharmacal, type orders, against Hosting Ireland.

Those orders would compel Hosting Ireland to provide all the details it has, including names and addresses, about the person or persons who set up and operated the websites to the plaintiff’s lawyers.

Counsel said that Hosting Ireland was neither objecting nor consenting to his side’s application but had stated in correspondence that it would not provide the information sought in the absence of a court order.

Ms Justice Roberts granted Clearson Holdings the disclosure order sought.

The judge said that she was satisfied to make the order on an ex-parte basis, because of the position Hosting Ireland had adopted in its correspondence with the plaintiff.

The information sought would have to be provided to Clearson Holdings within 28 days the judge added.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

Author
Aodhan O Faolain