July 19, 2010

Orlando Figes settles lawsuit over fake Amazon reviews


Orlano Figes

Orlano Figes

Historian Orlando Figes has settled a libel suit brought against him by fellow historians Rachel Polonsky and Robert Service over his writing of pseudonymous negative reviews of their work on Amazon.com. (See the earlier MobyLives report.)

According to a Press Association report,

As part of the settlement agreed on Friday, Prof Figes has circulated an apology and retraction in which he accepts that his denial of responsibility for the reviews was false.

He also withdrew any adverse imputations that an email he sent had conveyed against Dr Polonsky and Prof Service, and apologised for instructing his previous solicitor to write to Prof Service threatening libel proceedings for suggesting that he had written the reviews. Prof Figes and his wife also agreed to pay Dr Polonsky and Prof Service damages, and their legal costs, partly on the indemnity basis – the highest rate.

He also gave an undertaking not to repeat the allegations, not to post pseudonymous reviews of their works, and not to use fraud, subterfuge or unlawful means to attack or damage them in their professional capacity.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives