The world is
relying on digital platforms to survive. A company/person could be found liable
in damages to a wider number of people that rely on its digital services. We
have outlined a few cases involving some aspects of digital platforms to help
you mitigate your risks as you embrace technology in all your operations or as
you provide digital solutions to others.
Building Of Software
The Court in St
Albans City and District Council v International Computers Ltd  4 All ER
481 held the Defendant company liable for damages to the Claimant for an
error in the software the Defendant produced for the Claimant’s computer
The Claimant had contracted with the Defendant
company to supply a software for its computer system to enable the Claimant to
extract the population figures in collection of community charge. However, due
to an error in the software the figure was overstated by 2,966 and the
Claimant’s charge receipts were affected. The Claimants sued the Defendant
company for damages.
Website And Internet Publications
In Patchett and Anor v Swimming Pool & Allied
Trades Association Ltd  EWCA Civ 717 The Court held the Defendant not liable
for the financial loss the Claimant
occasioned as a result of an uncompleted work carried out by a contractor
represented in the Defendants site.
Here, the Claimant based on information put up
by the Defendant on its website entered a contract with a contractor listed on
the Defendant’s website for the construction of their swimming pool. The
contractor breached the terms of the contract and the Claimant sued the
Defendant’s for recovery of the financial loss occasioned.
In Spreadex Ltd v Cochrane  All ER (D) 152, where the Claimant was a spread betting
bookmaker, the Defendant made use of the Claimant’s website to carry out
trading in commodities. On an occasion, the Defendant discovered that
activities were carried out on the site without his knowledge and he
experienced financial loss which the Claimant sued for immediate payment.
The Court held that the Claimant had failed to establish the
existence of a legal contract to host and give binding effect to Customer
Agreement, so as to supplant the need for the individual trades to be concluded
or authorized by the defendant.
More so, in Godfrey
v Demon Internet Ltd  All ER (D) 376, The Defendant was an
Internet Service Provider (ISP) carrying on a business in England and Wales. A
defamatory posting was made on his site and he was informed of it by the
Plaintiff to put down the posting as it was forged. The Defendant failed to put
down the posting and the Plaintiff sued. The
Court held that the Defendant knew of the defamatory posting but chose not to
remove it from its Usenet news-servers and as such liable to the Plaintiff and
could not claim innocent dissemination.
The District Court in United States v. Nicholas Palumbo DocketNo.20-CV-473 issued a preliminary injunction that barred
the Defendants from operating as intermediate voice-over-internet-protocol
(VoIP) carriers during the pendency of the civil action. In this case, the
Defendants operated as VoIP carrier, receiving internet- based calls from other
entities often located abroad, and
transmitting those calls first to other carriers within the United States and,
ultimately, to the phones of individuals, which were used to carryout fraudulent
government and business imposter robocalls to victims in the United States
Upon being sued, the District Court held, in a written opinion, that the evidence
presented by the United States demonstrated probable cause to conclude that the
Defendants were engaged in “widespread patterns of telecommunications fraud,
intended to deprive call recipients in the Eastern District of New York and
elsewhere of money and property
Social Media Publications
In Chambers v Director of Public Prosecutions  1 All
ER 149 the Appellant made a comment on twitter about blowing up Robin Hood
Airport for their closing down due to bad weather which affected his travel
plans. The Defendant taking such comment to be of a menacing character and a
criminal offence, sued the Appellant and obtained judgment against him.
The Court held that the comment posted by the Appellant to his twitter account was not menacing under the communication Act 2003 and the actus reus of the offence was not made out. His conviction was quashed.
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