OUTCOME OF THE LEADMILL’S LEGAL ACTION AGAINST RUPERT DELL
Her Honour Judge Richardson handed down judgment in favour of The Leadmill Limited’s (“The Leadmill“) breach of contract claims against Rupert Dell requiring him to pay damages and costs in excess of £370,000.(Three Hundred and Seventy Thousand pounds)
The Leadmill’s claims against Rupert Dell, former General Manager of The Leadmill, related to his actions of a wholly inappropriate and unlawful nature during and after his employment. These included; the sexual harassment of a young, vulnerable woman; bullying and harassing junior members of staff; making false and vexatious claims against those staff and against The Leadmill; deliberately and dishonestly falsifying the companies trading figures and; diverting artistes away from The Leadmill to competitor venues following his dismissal.
The Judges findings.
High Court Judge, Her Honour Judge Richardson, said “the evidence before the Court paints a chilling picture of the defendant, (Rupert Dell), who was using and abusing his position of power within The Leadmill and within the music industry to control a vulnerable young woman, and to create a position of power in relation to her, in order to establish and continue a personal relationship with her”.
Over 4,000 pages of evidence were produced before the Court over a 5 day Hearing.
The Judge said Dell’s actions were “cynical, systematic, and a serious abuse of his position of power and influence”.
“To groom a vulnerable young woman was a total breach of trust and confidence”.
He was “a manipulative predator”, whose behaviour was “totally and utterly inexcusable”.
It was held that Rupert Dell “caused a protracted and lengthy investigation by giving untrue, evasive and contradictory answers”, and “made false allegations that were hurtful and distressing.”
Dell’s defence to the allegations was “twisted and contorted”, “totally skewed”, and “a web of fabrication”.
Rupert Dell’s ability to view the evidence (which spanned over 4,000 pages) objectively was “wholly lacking”, that he had “a tendency to blame his victim”. It is “symptomatic of an individual who is self-centred, self-absorbed and wholly lacking in empathy.”
In short, the findings concluded that Rupert Dell had;
During his employment;
• cynically and systematically abused his position of power and influence as General Manager of The Leadmill and within the music industry for the purposes of grooming, controlling and creating a position of power over a young, vulnerable woman in order to establish and continue a personal relationship with her;
• interacted with, and demonstrated a level of intimacy with a young subordinate employee, who he knew was vulnerable;
• Instructed staff to keep her a secret from the Leadmill’s Director;
• persisted in communicating with a young, vulnerable employee of The Leadmill against her express wishes, making suggestive comments such as attending her hotel room, resulting in her leaving the hotel at night, in fear that he would gain entry to her room against her wishes;
• exposed The Leadmill to allegations of sexual harassment and obliged The Leadmill to conduct a costly and protracted investigation into the sexual harassment allegations in order to deal with his misconduct, to protect the young vulnerable woman, and its business;
• initiated, encouraged, and facilitated a culture of inappropriate “banter” amongst The Leadmill’s management employees, which included him making racial and disrespectful references to other’s sexual orientation and religious beliefs, including his own Jewish origins;
• raised a grievance vexatiously and in bad faith about another employee’s comments about his Jewish origins;
• harassed and bullied members of The Leadmill’s management and staff.
• falsified The Leadmill’s trading accounts and also instructed others to do so;
Following his employment:
• deliberately destroyed evidence of his own misconduct during and after his dismissal;
• competed against The Leadmill in breach of the post termination restrictions contained within his employment contract by engaging with The Leadmill’s contacts and assisting competing venues to direct live acts away from The Leadmill, at substantial cost to The Leadmill.
Statement from The Leadmill.
“The Leadmill would like to put on record our continuing support to those who had the courage to blow the whistle on Rupert Dell’s abusive behaviour, and who subsequently had to contend with his false allegations and personal smears against their names.
Dell’s continuing attempts to damage The Leadmill’s good name and reputation have failed. The stain against us and our employees has finally and comprehensively been removed by the findings and declarations of Her Honour Judge Richardson, which are now a matter of public record, and for which we thank her.
“We would like to express our sympathy to Dell’s family for the immeasurable suffering he has caused them by his actions, although we did find the threat of violence from a member of Dell’s family against one of his victims to be of great concern.”
“However, our main concern is the distress Dell’s abuse of his position has caused to his victims. The Leadmill is prepared to act as intermediary and receive any messages of sympathy and support from Dell’s family to Dell’s victims, and will forward them on”.
“To date Dell has not apologised to any of his victims. He shows no sign of regret or remorse, preferring instead to continue to attack those who blew the whistle on him, and to twist and contort the truth in order to try to distract attention away from his appalling behaviour.”
Dell has claimed that his evidence was not considered in Court; that due to lack of funds he was unable to defend himself.
Dell states; “Due to lack of funds I was unable to defend myself in the civil Court and therefore the judge listed their claims as read i believe without taking my defence into consideration. I am allowed to stand up for myself. Due to my lack of funds I was unable to get my evidence heard in Court”.
Of course, you don’t need funds to get your evidence heard in Court. All you need to do is take a solemn oath to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Faced with that prospect, instead of standing up for himself, Dell ran away from the Court buildings.
His victims say he did not have the courage to walk into the Courtroom and face them.
This is what the Judge said;
“At the outset of the remedies hearing, the defendant was represented by Mr Richard Carter (counsel), instructed by the defendant on a direct access basis. Having asked for some additional time, which was granted, Mr Carter returned to the Courtroom to inform the Court, firstly, that his retainer had been terminated and, secondly, that his client and his client’s family had informed him that they no longer wished to play any part in these proceedings and had left the Court building. Mr Carter withdrew from the hearing. No application for an adjournment was made by Mr Carter as he was not instructed to make one.”
“If the intention of the defendant was to seek to somehow argue that any decision of this Court is invalid or lacking authority due to his absence, I can only observe that such an assertion would be wholly without foundation.”
Two weeks prior to the hearing, Mr. Carter served Dell’s witness statement, together with his submissions, to the Court and to the claimants.
At point 46 of the Judges findings, she informed the Court that she had “read and considered all of the documents, including Dell’s defence, and the case that he put to the Court.”
Therefore all of Dell’s evidence was considered by the Court in the hearing.
High Court Judge, Judge Richardson, considered all of what Dell has described as “counter issues”, and judged him to have made them “vexatiously” and “in bad faith”.
Dell has claimed that his “reputation” is being ruined by the outcome of this hearing and that a “vendetta” is taking place against him.
The Judge stated that there was a “clear public importance in determining the extent of the defendant’s alleged exploitative behaviour towards a junior, vulnerable female employee”. (point 15 of the Judges findings).
Responses from eye-witnesses and Dell’s victims.
“If Dell wants to identify the person who has ruined his reputation, and who has caused distress to everyone involved, his victims and his family, he only needs to look in the mirror.”
“Rupert Dell was dismissed from The Leadmill for sexual harassment and bullying. Following his dismissal Dell began a vendetta against The Leadmill, with the intention of damaging and destroying its reputation. He did damage the company both financially and reputationally, which is why the Judge awarded costs and damages in excess of £370,000. Dell has yet to make any arrangements to pay.”
“Dell’s statements in the press are a cynical attempt to cover up the truth. The Judgement is crystal clear. Dell is a manipulative predator and a bully. He abused his position while he was General Manager at The Leadmill”.
“He has damaged his victim’s lives and shows no sign of remorse or regret.”
“Thank God this matter is now in the open. He can no longer use The Leadmill’s good name as bait for his targets”
“It’s sexual harassment. I am disgusted that he tried to pass it off as harmless flirting.”
“My main concern about his statement to The Star (Newspaper) was the continuous lying, but he’s never going to stop that, is he?!”
The Leadmill says;
The Music Industry is doing what it can to stop these abuses of power. We will continue to stand with Dell’s victims and their families against such abuse.
The whole of the Judgement against Rupert Dell runs to 30 pages, and can be accessed upon application to Sheffield Law Courts, Reference number; B10SE027.