Trolls who snubbed settlement face bankruptcy
Two vicious trolls who are facing bankruptcy after they were ordered to pay $150,000 for posting negative online reviews to sabotage a rival wedding planner could have settled out-of-court for just $2500 each.
But rather than pay the money, Kellie Maree Smith, 32, and Stacey Lee Isaac, 33, elected to continue with defending 10 online posts they made about wedding planner Tristan Moy.
On November 9 Ms Isaac, from Notting Hill in Victoria, was ordered to pay $100,0000 plus interest for the four online comments she posted in 2017 and 2018, while Ms Smith an unemployed single mother of two from Mount Tamborine, must pay $50,000 plus $9750 interest for seven posts attributed to her in the defamation claim.
Barrister Alex Nelson, for Ms Moy, told the Brisbane Magistrates Court on November 9 that "it was silly of" Ms Smith and Ms Isaac not to accept an offer by Ms Moy to settle for $2500, early in the case, which was filed in 2017.
That sum was "a mile away from what they're now being ordered to pay", Mr Nelson told the court.
Then the women had a second chance to settle the case more recently where Ms Isaac could pay $7500 and Ms Smith could pay $1250, but that again was rejected.
They also dismissed a plan for Ms Isaac to pay $15,000 and for Ms Smith to pay $2500 in monthly instalments.
Because the women rejected the settlement offers, Magistrate John Smith ordered they pay Ms Moys legal costs of fighting the defamation lawsuit, on an indemnity basis.
Ms Smith and Ms Isaac did not appear in court and no solicitor attended court but they filed defences of justification in court in 2017.
Speaking outside of court Ms Smith told The Sunday Mail she offered Ms Moy "$1000 or $2000 and a public apology" to settle but they could not agree because Ms Moy "wanted me to write what she suggested" in the apology.
Ms Isaac told the Sunday Mail outside court that during mediation she offered Ms Moy a public apology but they could not come to a settlement agreement.
Magistrate Smith also noted that he would have ordered the pair pay higher damages than $150,000 if the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court had been greater.
The Magistrates Court is unable to award more than $150,000 damages for defamation for each defendant.
Ms Moy had been seeking a total of $285,000 from the two women for ten imputations including that Ms Moy was untrustworthy, deceitful, tries to ruin her clients weddings and bullies her clients.
Ms Isaac uploaded to her Facebook group the post: "I know I for sure wouldn't hire someone to plan my wedding day who would sabotage another brides wedding day."
Ms Isaac was ordered to pay "aggravated damages" as the court found that even after she was sued in 2017, she made another defamatory post online in 2018.
Ms Isaac has said she will appeal the decision.
Ms Smith, who never engaged Ms Moy's wedding planning service, posted to the same Facebook group in 2017: "The fact she tried to ruin my wedding day is a joke! Try to get the venue (sic) cancel my wedding!"
Originally published as Trolls who snubbed settlement face bankruptcy