Tort of injurious falsehood -

The tort of injurious falsehood is sort of like defamation against businesses or Corporations,  as you can not "defame" a Corporation and nor do they have a ready remedy in defamation if you do, it does not mean there is no common law remedey available to them against a person who does make malicious false statements against them. 

Most typically this tort is available when a business competitor makes false claims about the goods, services or business that is directed to the customers or would be customers of the business but this equally applied against individuals, say in online reviews or social media, where it causes damage to the business or causes customers to go elsewhere.

Elements of the Tort :

1. False Statement : The business has the onus of proof to prove that the statement was not true.

2. That the false Statement was published.

3. That the false statement was published with malicious intent or reckless indifference to the truth of the matter.

4. That the business suffered damages as a result 


Relevant Precendents : 

Business to Business :

Swimsure Laboratories Pty Ltd v McDonald [1979] 1 NSWLR 796.

Competitor Falsely Claimed it's products did not comply with Government Standards. 

Seafolly Pty Ltd v Madden [2012] FCA 1346.

Swinwear designer falsely accused a competitor of copying her swinwear designs. 
(Note all elements were proven except (4) That the business suffered an actual loss).

Customer to Business

The precedent in common law on this issue was set in Kaplan v Go Daddy Group [2005] NSWSC 636 [30]-[33].

In that case a disgruntled customer set up a web site hunterholdensucks.com with comments posted there making false statements against the business alleging fraud and over charging customers,  also the domain name itself was held to be an injurious falsehood from its implied meanings that the dealership was poorly managed and provided poor products and services. 

Regulatory Agency v Business 

Nyoni v Pharmacy Board of Australia (No.6) [2018] FCA 526.

As the statements made by the Board were false and caused economic damage to the business.

 

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