Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
6 Feb 2017
4:14 pm

Bobroffs facing R24m defamation claim

Ilse de Lange

Millar is suing the Bobroffs and their spouses for R11.9 million for more than 119 instances of alleged defamation.

Five Johannesburg attorneys and a senior journalist are claiming almost R24 million damages from controversial personal injury lawyers Ronald and Darren Bobroff for defamation.

The father and son, who owned Ronald Bobroff & Partners in Johannesburg, fled to Australia in March last year to avoid possible criminal charges resulting from overcharging clients for their services in claims against the Road Accident Fund. Two judges of the High Court in Pretoria in December last year found that they were no longer fit and proper to serve the legal profession and struck their names off the roll of attorneys.

The massive defamation claim followed a series of allegedly highly insulting and defamatory statements on social media platforms aimed at attorneys Anthony Millar, Norman Berger, Stephen Bezuidenhout, Rael Zimmerman and veteran journalist Tony Beamish. The Bobroffs hold the attorneys and Beamish responsible for their financial and legal woes and the publicity surrounding their case.

Millar, who is suing the Bobroffs and their spouses for R11.9 million for more than 119 instances of alleged defamation, represented various former clients of the Bobroffs in damages claims resulting from alleged overcharging. He claimed the Bobroffs were responsible for a series of particularly vitriolic tweets and statements that, among others allegations, accused him of being an “ambulance chaser” and of destroying their lives.

Like Ronald Bobroff, Millar is a former president of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. Zimmerman, the attorney who acted on behalf of the Bobroffs until 2016, is suing them for R5.5 million for 11 instances of defamation, which he claimed unfairly portrayed him as “dishonest and dishonourable”.

Bezuidenhout, a former partner of Ronald Bobroff & Partners, is suing them for R6 million for 16 instances of defamation, while Berger is claiming R1.5 million for 14 instances of alleged defamation. Senior journalist Tony Beamish, who wrote a series of articles about the Bobroffs, in which he exposed the overcharging scandal and was also responsible for an exposé about them on Carte Blanche, is suing them for R3.4 million for a series of 34 posts that he claimed unlawfully portrayed him “dishonest, untrustworthy and wicked”.

Cora van der Merwe, a cost consultant and former candidate attorney at Bobroff and Partners, is also suing the pair for more than R400 000 for services rendered and defamation, but they insisted she had “no reputation” to defend because of her “vindictive conduct” and counter-sued her for R1.1 million for defamation.