Plaintiffs drop their defamation lawsuit against a Vinnytsia media outlet
Ex-head of the main MIA service center, Oleksandr Knyaziuk, and ex-deputy director of the regional MIA service center in the Vinnytsia oblast, Denys Furmaniuk, have dropped their lawsuits against the owner of the domain deputaty.in.ua, reports the regional representative of the IMI in the Vinnytsia oblast.
Furmaniuk's case was tried by the Vinnytsia Court of Appeal, as he lost the first instance trial. Knyaziuk's case was at the first instance stage.
As reported by the IMI, the two former MIA service center employees filed lawsuits against the Vinnytsia website depytaty.in.ua. Both plaintiffs were represented by the same lawyer, Vitaliy Kaydashov. Oleksandr Knyaziuk and Denys Furmaniuk demanded that the media outlet declare the information about them unreliable and pay 100,000 hryvnias in moral damages to each.
The reason for the lawsuit was the article "While odious policemen guard army enlistment offices, Vinnytsia sees a surge of 'car hucksters'", which discussed former (or active at that time) MIA employees guarding the Vinnytsia "army enlistment office".
The two men were suing the domain owner of the website deputaty.in.ua (now depytaty.pro), Dmytro Umanets. Dmytro himself was serving in the UAF at that time, performing combat missions on the front line. However, the lawyer Kaydashov did not change the lawsuit even after learning about this.
On top of the demand to "declare the article unreliable and a violation of the plaintiffs' rights to respect for their dignity, honor and inviolability of their business reputation," the plaintiffs wanted 100,000 hryvnias to each from Dmytro Umanets. However, Furmaniuk later reduced the compensation amount to 10,000 hryvnias.
The case was first tried by the Vinnytsia City Court judge Volodymyr Vorobyov, who dismissed Denys Furmaniuk's lawsuit. His lawyer appealed.
As Furmaniuk's appeal was being considered, the court of appeal received the plaintiff's statement about dropping the claim. Consequently, the Vinnytsia Court of Appeal ruled to uphold the dismissal of the lawsuit, declared invalid by the Vinnytsia City Court of the Vinnytsia Oblast on July 24, 2023, thus closing the proceedings in this case.
At the same time, lawyer Roman Vasylniak, who defended Dmytro Umanets, submitted an application to recover the legal expenses from the plaintiffs. He argued that Denys Furmaniuk "dropped the lawsuit, fully aware of the frivolousness of his demands, which means that there are grounds for making him pay the legal expenses incurred by the defendant in the first instance court and the court of appeal." In the end, the judges fined Furmanyuk six thousand hryvnias.
The day after Furmaniuk's appeal, the Vinnytsia City Court tried Knyaziuk's lawsuit. However, this time they also received a "written statement dropping the claim", and Knyaziuk asked to close the proceedings in the case. Judge Romaniuk decided to close the proceedings in this case and charged him five thousand hryvnias for professional legal assistance, which Dmytro Umanets spent defending himself in Knyaziuk and Furmaniuk's lawsuits.
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