Defamation lawsuit alert!
Reality chef extraordinaire, Gordon Ramsey, is once again embroiled in a legal fracas. Unlike the lawsuit he recently settled — and ponied up $83,000 for — this time “Chef” is the one doing the suing. What’s got him hotter than a brick oven? Allegedly defamatory statements made by one of his Montreal-based business partners, Danny Lavy.
Cause for the $2.4 Million Dollar Defamation Lawsuit
By now, we all know the way the celebrity restaurant machine works: Well-known, master chefs lend their name and a few recipes to a restaurant, which brings in the patrons. Judging from reports, it seems Ramsay and Lavy made a similar deal. Ramsay would lend his name to Lavy’s kitchen, and the former Laurier BBQ would become Laurier Gordon Ramsey.
Here’s where things diverge.
Gordon Ramsey insists the deal he signed with Lavy did not include public promotion – Lavy, apparently, feels otherwise. Ramsay also says his deal with Lavy was terminated on February 11.
Lavy, however, recently censured Ramsay, in the Montreal Gazette, for being “too busy to come to the restaurant.” Lavy indicated he was severing ties with Ramsay, stripping the famed chef’s name from the moniker, and closed by quipping about Ramsay’s gourmet prowess: “We got nothing that was ever a ‘wow’ dish,” but just “a few tweaks on what we already had.”
Ramsay Files Defamation Lawsuit: My Name And Reputation Is Worth Its Weight In Gourmet Truffles!
Un-amused by the remarks, Ramsay directed some heat towards Lavy in the form of a defamation lawsuit. According to the filing, “negative and critical public comments regarding the plaintiff could have the effect of decreasing the commercial value of [Ramsay’s] name and any commercial ventures associated with it.” It went on to aver that Lavy’s statements were “false and defamatory.”
In other words: If you disparage Gordon Ramsay’s good culinary reputation in public, it could affect his future earning potential.
What Are Ramsay’s Chances of Winning This Defamation Lawsuit?
This one’s a toss-up. It’s a defamation lawsuit that will very much depend on the arguments from the defamation lawyers on both sides. Moreover, the case is being heard in Canadian courts, which arguably have the most “plaintiff-friendly” defamation laws in the “English-speaking world.” That being said, the lawsuit was filed in Quebec, which is the Canadian province with legal leanings most similar to U.S. standards (though mostly when reviewing issues of political speech).
In broad terms, in Canada, plaintiffs don’t have to prove malice, falsity or damage – a very different standard than the U.S., which would require a public figure to prove all three in order to bring a defamation lawsuit against the accused.
Though, Canadian defamation law – like EU defamation law – is currently in a state of flux, and new precedence is being established quickly.
This is an interesting defamation lawsuit, and we’ll be keeping an eye on this one. So be sure to check back for updates – or sign up for our Internet and defamation law newsletter and get updates in your inbox.