A 22 year old Irish student from Dublin is threatening to sue one of the internet’s biggest names, the now Google-owned YouTube, for alleged defamation arising out of online comments linking him to not paying a taxi fare.
The incriminating video -- removed after Eoin McKeogh successfully obtained interlocutory injunctions against both YouTube and Facebook in the Irish High Court -- showed a young man and a group of friends exiting a taxi without paying what was owed.
The petty criminal in question has since emerged as none other than Eoin Black -- an obscure South Dubliner who has now reportedly settled the fair with the driver in question, but McKeogh and his family seem determined to take their surprisingly dogged legal battle to the next level, with a threat to bring the chief executive of YouTube, Salar Kamangar, to court.
If instigated the highly unlikely lawsuit will be McKeogh’s third court action in almost as many weeks.
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A High Court judge has already commented that the spiralling legal fees headaches resulting from McKeogh’s unsuccessful second legal battle -- a failed attempt to bring an effective gag-order style superinjuction preventing almost all major Irish national newspapers from reporting on the case-- will leave the young student with costs probably large enough to be able to buy him a new house, leading to speculation that the 22 year old’s latest court threat is a thinly disguised damages action hoping to recoup some of what is owed, but whatever the purpose behind the latest threat, it seems unlikely to success.
McKeogh’s first injunction against YouTube and Facebook may have been successful, but signs of judicial ire were already hanging in the air when the second action prompted comments that the Court didn’t have a ‘magic wand’ able to rectify the damage.
However as the real criminal has already come forward, and the Court has accepted as true indisputable evidence that McKeogh was in fact in Japan at the time the video was shot, the obvious question remains what kind of ‘defamation’ there is left for a lawsuit such as McKeogh is contemplating to remedy?
An argument that the case will have any sort of lasting impact on McKeogh’s reputation will be very hard to buy, and a personal action against the chief executive of YouTube seems like a strange sort of action to take.
One thing that will have a lasting impact on McKeogh’s future, though, is probably the legal fees.
And for that it’s hard to feel sorry.