In the judicial confrontation over the PASMI article, which spoke about violations during the construction of the stadium in Rostov-on-Don for the 2018 World Cup, the point was set: the cassation court rejected the lawsuit of Crocus International JSC and the head of the company Araz Agalarov demanding to remove the publication as false and defamatory business reputation.
Crocus vs. PASMI
On November 28, 2018, a hearing was held in the Arbitration Court of the Moscow District to consider the appeal of Crocus International and the owner of the company, Araz Agalarov, to decisions made by lower courts regarding the publication of PASMI “Rostov-Arena” may collapse during a World Cup match. ”
In a cassation appeal, the plaintiffs claimed that the PASMI publication disseminated false and false information about the construction of the stadium in Rostov-on-Don for the FIFA World Cup and asked to cancel the previous decisions and oblige PASMI to remove the publication.
Following the statements of the plaintiffs and the PASMI representative, Yaroslav Shitsle, the collegial composition of the court decided to refuse to satisfy the cassation appeal. Thus, the decisions of the courts, which recognized the publication of PASMI as reliable and did not discredit the business reputation of the plaintiffs, were upheld.
According to Yaroslav Shitsle, the court decision is more than justified. He explained that the cassation court verifies the application of substantive and procedural law by the lower courts, and the plaintiffs, instead of pointing out the incorrect application of the law, essentially argued with the circumstances of the case and simply did not agree with the assessment given by the lower courts .
“But the mere disagreement of the participant in the trial with the assessment that the court gave, based on a study of all the circumstances of the case, is not grounds for canceling the judicial act. Therefore, quite reasonably, a decision was made to refuse to satisfy the cassation appeal. Nevertheless, the legality of the adopted judicial acts was verified and the higher court agreed with the courts and believes that the PASMI publication on the Rostov-Arena does not contain inaccurate information that could discredit the plaintiffs business reputation. Exactly on this, our legal position was based on numerous court hearings, ”said the court representative.
In the article “Rostov-Arena could collapse right during the World Cup match” PASMI talked about the fact that during the construction of a sports facility for the 2018 World Cup, the general contractor was Crocus International, a company that had no previous experience construction of large sports facilities, thousands of tons of building materials were stolen.
According to the source of PASMI, the shortage of concrete for hundreds of millions of rubles led to the fact that significantly fewer piles were scored under the stadium than planned by the project. There remained empty wells that decompress the soil. “If you are lucky, the Rostov stadium will survive the mundial,” the specialist noted. “But how long it will remain idle and how often it will have to be repaired is not known.”
In addition, the article states that during the construction period the courts have already examined more than three dozen lawsuits from Rostekhnadzor against the general contractor Crocus International CJSC. Each of them describes the numerous violations committed during the construction of the Rostov stadium. Journalists also reported that the construction of the facility was repeatedly interrupted by strikes by workers dissatisfied with wage delays, and one of the builders died under a metal plate that fell on it.
Agalarov and Crocus International filed a lawsuit against PASMI, in which they stated that these data were not reliable and discredited their business reputation. The construction company and its leader motivated their lawsuit by the fact that work at the facility is carried out on time and in proper quality, and information about the waste of budgetary funds, the use of low-quality material, which can lead to collapses, are not confirmed by inspections of regulatory and supervisory authorities.
At the same time, commenting on a fragment of the PASMI publication about numerous claims from Rostekhnadzor related to violation of building standards, the representative of Crocus International called such information the usual practice of building a large facility. This statement caused a particular reaction from the judges, who recognized the position voiced by the plaintiff as a recognition of violations in the construction of the facility.
The text of the statement of claim was justified by the extrajudicial conclusion of the expert of the ANO “Center for Linguistic Expertise” E.S. However, the expert’s conclusions, transferred by the plaintiffs to their procedural position, were recognized by the courts as unreliable and brought with a distorted content of the original article.
As a result, the Moscow Arbitration Court refused to satisfy this lawsuit, then this decision was confirmed by the appellate court.