Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is suing a former business partner in Canada. Ramsay’s legal team say that statements made by Danny Lavy, owner of Laurier rotisserie, were defamatory.
The pair were in a commercial partnership revolving around a barbeque restaurant. Lavy was disappointed with Ramsay’s failure to create a special dish for the restaurant and has also alleged that he did not do any promotional work.
Ramsay, on the other hand, believes that he fulfilled his contractual obligations and that Lavy was unjustified in tearing up their contract and dropping his name from the venture.
Defamation occurs when someone says something untrue about you to a third party that ends in you suffering some sort of loss. It can take two different forms. If it is in writing, it is referred to as libel. If defamation is committed verbally then it is called slander.
As such, Ramsay’s decision to sue for defamation is founded in the conviction that his former business partner’s statements damaged his reputation.
Whether Ramsay will receive compensation will depend on the court’s findings. The court has to be satisfied that the statements were defamatory and that, as a direct result, Ramsay suffered loss. It is not sufficient that a hurtful true statement was made in the public sphere.
As court battles can be lengthy and costly many parties try to come to a solution outside of the courtroom.
For celebrities like Ramsay a good reputation is key as that is what he makes his living from. The chef is said to be confident that he met his obligations under the contract by providing his name and recipes to the restaurant venture.
A clearly drafted contract between business partners is essential to avoiding legal disputes and ensuring that everyone is aware of their respective responsibilities. For this purpose you are advised to always consult a specialist solicitor who can ensure that your interests are protected in a contract.
What is your experience on contractual disputes?