Judge Rules In Amber Harrison, Seven Media Case Bankruptcy Looms
17 Juillet, 2017, 20:42 | Author: Claudine Rigal
Tweeting and vengeful emails could see former Seven Media secretary Amber Harrison bankrupt within days after a Judge sitting in the High Court in Melbourne, ruled that she had to pay all Seven Media's legal Costs.
Earlier this month, Harrison dropped her case against Seven West Media and consented to a gag order, which prevents her from speaking publicly about her affair with Worner, or releasing company documents. She attempted to cross-claim against the network and after she refused a settlement with Seven offering to pay some of her legal costs, the company applied for the former staffer to pay all its legal expenses.
Harrison has previously said she'll go bankrupt if ordered to pay costs.
He rejected her argument that an indemnity costs order would amount to punishing her for "taking a stand" and said it was an appropriate order to "compensate [Seven]. for the unreasonable costs incurred in these proceedings".
Ms Harrison said the legal process - which ran for about three years - should have been finished in 2014.
"But Seven welcomed the decision and said it "[looked] forward to putting this matter behind us".
But Ms Harrison capitulated at the 11th hour and said she would agree to the court making a permanent gag order.
The judge said the proceedings had, from the outset, been engulfed in "a vitriolic atmosphere".
In the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, Justice John Sackar found Harrison's conduct was 'unreasonable'.
The media company had offered to settle the proceedings on February 27 but Ms Harrison "did not take up this offer", Justice Sackar said.
Justice Sackar also criticised Ms Harrison for not reaching a deal with Seven while an opportunity existed.
"The allegations from both sides, whether entirely true or not, have often been personal, scandalous, and sadly ripe for media and public consumption", justice Sakar said in today's judgment.
He said it was clear Ms Harrison had "engaged in numerous breaches" of a deed of release signed in November 2014 and her employment contract, "and these breaches have been persistent and flagrant".
"It is a pity that the defendant did not make a realistic assessment of her case."
"In my view, [Ms Harrison's] decision to persist in running a case without any admissible evidence to rely upon reflects a real disregard for any adverse costs consequences that naturally follow from such conduct", he said.
Ms Harrison did not appear via telephone to hear Justice Sackar's orders.
"No company that becomes aware of an office affair should protect one party, while grinding the other into the ground", she wrote.
"If dating or sleeping with a co-worker was a sackable offence, the unemployment queues around the country would stretch for miles".
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