Northern and Shell in 'amicable settlement' with Katie Price over claim for breach of 'goodwill' agreement

Publisher Northern and Shell has reached an “amicable settlement” with former model Katie Price after she sued the publisher for breaching a “goodwill” contract.

Price was seeking unlimited damages for libel, malicious falsehood and breach of contract before Northern and Shell agreed to pay damages and a "significant contribution" to Price's legal fees last month.

The “goodwill” agreement Price referred to was made with Northern and Shell editorial director Paul Ashford in May 2011.

According to a High Court claim form, it said: “I [Paul Ashford] will inform each of the editors that we have both worked hard to make this deal work and that I have agreed that our titles will conduct themselves with goodwill towards you and they will support your plan to raise awareness of issues facing families dealing with disability issues.”

She was suing over a series of articles – and one ‘reader’ letter – published in Northern and Shell titles the Star magazine and OK! magazine in October 2011.

The 3 October Star magazine article, headlined ‘Jordan’s bizarre new obsession’, suggested she had “harassed” US celebrities the Kardashian sisters by “bombarding” them with Blackberry messages.

The magazine then published a reader’s letter a week later, which, according to a High Court claim form, Northern and Shell admitted was written by one of the magazine’s reporters.

It said: “Had a good chuckle when I read that Jordan wants to be in the Kardashians’ “gang” (issue 400). But it makes perfect sense – they all have so much in common. Just imagine all that big hair and those massive egos in one room!

“And lucky for Jordan, her real name, Katie Price, starts with a “K”, too! It must be fate! It’s a shame they haven’t been replying to her desperate messages they probably have no idea who she is. But I’d have loved to see mum Kris Jenner cut Jordan down to size! Now that’s an episode of the show I’d definitely watch.”

According to Price’s lawyers, Archerfield Partners LLP, the magazine admitted the letter was written by a Star reporter on behalf of the sister of a member of staff who wanted to win the prize for “letter of the week”.

Despite the fact the magazine published an apology in November 2011, Price's lawyers said the original article and letter were defamatory.

Price also sued sister title OK! over an article which boasted a “world exclusive” about her relationship with rugby player Danny Cipriani.

Price’s lawyers claimed the articles were false and published “maliciously”.

She also said the OK! piece may have caused her “financial damage” because she could have sold an “exclusive interview” to another title.

According to the claim form, the 18 October cover story promised a “First Interview Since Going Public” with the pair and was accompanied by a “doctored” image, made up of two separate photographs.

It alleged that the quote “We fancy each other so let’s make the most of it” was falsely attributed to her.

Press Gazette approached Northern and Shell for a comment on Thursday 17 January, but the company did not respond in time for a story which appeared in Press Gazette's digital edition on Friday.

Northern and Shell has now provided the following statement: “With regard to the top story on your front page, online and in your digital edition, Ms Price is not suing Star! And OK! as you have reported. The parties came to an amicable settlement and Ms Price’s solicitors withdrew the claim at the end of last year.”

Price's lawyers, Archerfield Partners LLP, said: "I can confirm that the claim was settled in December 2012. The Defendant has paid our client damages and made a significant contribution towards her legal costs."

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