Real estate agent’s missing apostrophe in Facebook post proves costly

Mr Zadravic meant to write ‘employee’s’, referring to his own case, but missed the apostrophe

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 11 October 2021 12:17
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An Australian real estate agent is in legal trouble after he failed to attach an apostrophe to a word in a Facebook post lambasting a rival who has now taken him to court alleging defamation.

Anthony Zadravic, a real estate agent from New South Wales Central Coast, is facing a defamation lawsuit for his punctuation error, after a court refused to dismiss the case against him, according to The Guardian.

On 22 October 2020, Mr Zadravic had lashed out at another real estate agent on Facebook.

He wrote: “Selling multi million $ (sic) homes in Pearl Beach but can’t pay his employees superannuation. Shame on you Stuart!!! 2 yrs and still waiting!!!”

Mr Zadravic meant to write “employee’s,” referring to his own case, but missed the apostrophe.

He claimed in court that he took down the post within twelve hours.

However, a district court in New South Wales last week turned down his appeal to dismiss the case. “To fail to pay one employee’s superannuation entitlement might be seen as unfortunate; to fail to pay some or all of them looks deliberate,” judge Judith Gibson said.

The court also dismissed Mr Zadravic’s claim that the cost of trial would exceed the potential award of damages, The Guardian reported.

While the cost of the case was pegged at $160,000 (over £86,000) which could go up to $250,000 (£134,631); Judge Gibson said the exceeding costs compared to the potential award of damages is not relevant.

“I agree this is a matter for concern but, unlike other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Australian legislators have shied away from any inquiries or research projects into defamation costs in this country, so this is unlikely to change at any stage in the future,” the judge was quoted as saying byThe Guardian.

The court noted two recent Facebook posts which had dearly cost the authors.

In 2020, a Brisbane vet won $25,000 (over £13,000) in damages after a client had accused him of overcharging on Facebook. In 2019, an aged care nurse was awarded $15,000 (around £8,000) in damages after accusations on Facebook of being sacked due to alcohol use.

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