At 10.30 am on the 15th of May 2017 a defamation trial commenced in the Liverpool High Court, the parties were TESS Paralegal Services Ltd -v- TATOC [The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees Ltd]. The case being heard was “defamation” and the remedy sought was damages and an injunction [to prevent publication of allegations which TATOC had published].

This was a David and Goliath Case, as TESS is a sole legal practitioner and TATOC is one of the Cardinals of the timeshare industry with many published resources. Therefore, many obstacles, twists and turns would lie ahead, should TESS advance its case.

TATOC is also signposted to by the Citizens Advice Bureau [CAB] many Council’s, County Councills, Police Forces, Trading Standards Departments and Government.

They advise the E.U. lawmakers and send their advice to Parliament, thus TESS where are not dealing with a small fry. TATOC is also a partner in the Timeshare Task Force and receive financial donations from the Resort Development Organisation [RDO].

TESS gathered together a team consisting of TESS [David Cox], Athena Law [Stephen Boyd], and Adam Speker [5RB Chambers London]

As far as TESS were concerned TATOC was a perversion, did not exist to assist consumers, did not dispense advice to consumers. TATOC did deliver industry advice, [which generally was not accepted by many consumers] who after receiving advice choose to spend 000,s with others and to extricate themselves for erroneous contracts. Standing like Guardians of a “Hen House” TATOC like many tried to keep the hens “cooped up” to have a continuance of a profit pipeline for some of its members.

As part of the tactic TATOC was born, was funded by the industry and implied that they and they alone were the only ones qualified to dispense legal advice to consumers. TESS believed this was Buffoonery.

Case History

Pre-action

Before the case was advanced, funding was required and obtained by TESS, TESS profusely denied that it had ever “cold called” and launched scathing attracts on TATOC and its CEO Mr. Harry Taylor for lying to the timeshare public”. TESS adopted the position that the allegation was a lie, untruthful and was delivered by a charlatan. No proceeding counterclaim was advance by Mr. Taylor and TESS [in exposing Harry Taylor] was not subject to any cross Defamation proceeding. Having tested the water as to the veracity of the TATOC claims, TESS set about arranging finance and to launch, what would be a costly legal action.

Delivery of the case

The case commenced in January 2016 after TESS served TATOC with a Letter Before Action [LBA]. TESS set out in pleadings that TATOC’s published “cold calling” list was a falsehood and consumers were being hoodwinked. Having received the LBA and upon refusal to take down the offending references, TESS issued High Court proceeding against TATOC.

The Litigation Process

In every case, matters take some time to concluded, as each litigant is in subjection the Civil Procedure Rules [CPR]. A defective Defence was served by TATOC which was pointed out by TESS. That Defence was amended yet remained Defective, to fully understand what Defence TATOC intended to run, TESS issued a Part 18 request for “further and better particulars” which required a reply. When that reply was received it too, was Defective. That said, it is for the Defendant to lodge its Defence and not for TESS to advise TATOC, therefore TESS benched the issue.

Mediation – without prejudice meetings were offered by TESS and rejected by TATOC, which preserved costs due to the unreasonable behaviour of TATOC. A settlement not being achieved, both parties were required to attend a Pre-Trail Review [PTR] which took place in Manchester on the 11th of April 2017.

PTR Review

This procedure intends to ensure that both parties are ready for trial and for the parties and the court to settle any procedural issues. At the PTR it became very apparent to the court that the Defence submitted by TATOC was defective and the court found that the evidence, TATOC asserted was evidence, was not in part or at all. Accordingly, the court throw the evidence out, under a summary decision. This effectively left the TATOC case in “tatters”. Pleading for mercy, the court did grant TATOC the right to amend its reply to the Part 18 request for “further particulars” so as to show that at least some evidence did exist. The court granted permission and TATOC complied, that said the amended Part 18 replies were equally without merit, gave no assistance to the court and was deemed to be again void of merit.

Pre-Trial Events

During the lead up to trial and knowing that the TATOC case was “in tatters” the board met and passed a resolution to enter Administration which was passed on to Solicitors acting for TESS. The administrators must have had concerns, as they did not accept the commission [therefore felt that they could not with good consciense (being officers of the court) assert that their presence would or “would likely” increase the financial returns to TATOC’s creditors. Therefore, in the alternative they were invited to carry out a “fire sale” of the company which ultimately might raise money.  TESS objected too this proposition believing TATOC was likely to sell the assets at an undervalue. Therefore, TESS having thwarted TATOC’s “knee jerk” ruse. The trial took place.

The Trial

On the 15th of May 2017 the trial commenced, TATOC failed to show up and failed to Defend its position. When the court asked why TATOC had defied a court order “to attend”, the court learned that Mr. Harry Taylor had been in Australia in the run up to trial but was in the UK the day of the trail and elected to defy the court order requesting his attendance.

The Judgement

The case therefore, was advance without TATOC being present or delivering any form of Defence.

TESS proved its case before Judge Turner and TATOC’s Defence was thrown out. TATOC had perpetrated a scandalous “lie” had fronted a campaign against an innocent party [TESS] recklessly and to a select group of consumers who merely sought independent advice.

TATOC did manufacture it’s “cold calling” list and with no evidence. They published it for other purposes and believing they were above the law. No proof existed, accordingly damages were awarded to TESS in the amount of Ordinary Damages in the amount of £75,000.00.

Special Damages in the amount of £100,000.00. and

costs in the amount of £100,000.000.

Which totalled of £275,000.00.

This sum reflects the monumental damage TATOC inflicted on one company and if you multiply that against the 230-other named companies, the damage they have done is at least £63 million in defamation alone.

TESS also won a “penal” injunction and should TATOC republish the list, they and their Directors will be in incarcerated. The judgement is the biggest award in 2017 in favour of a small company and reflects the damages that TATOC has perpetrated.

3rd Party Cost Order

Having failed to mediate, negotiate, enter settlement talks, provide a proper Defence yet protracting an illusion that they could Defend the matter. TATOC have been punished by the High Courts. After TATOC tried to “fire sale” its assets and failing to abide by a court order to attend, a 3rd party cost order lifting the corporate veil has been recommended . Therefore, Mr. Taylor is now the subject of satellite litigation for a 3rd party cost order personally and will have to present himself to the court shortly. Should he not do so, an order will be made in his absence and his personal assets will be seized and sold to satisfy the escalating cost order.

Accordingly, this matter will continue and a liquidator will be appointed to sequestrate what TATOC calls its jewel in the crown “TATOC Consumer Helpline Ltd [the alleged charity].

Many will appreciate that TATOC parades as a Consumer Association, claimed to represent over 400,000 members, was an adviser to governments and institutions and accredited resorts. That now has been exposed as Sham.

The falsehood has been exposed and Mr. Harry Taylor was not a lawyer, competent adviser, could not manage the company correctly, dove it into destruction and to evaded what many would describe as a simple apology for a wrong. “The ruse” is over and the truth was delivered by the High Court.

No doubt others will now admonish Mr Taylor and seek to investigation him his companies and managers for supporting him to deliver what was a self-serving Sham.

 


Posted on: 15th May 2017