Ontario Court of Appeal Says Costs on anti-SLAPP Motions Should not Generally Exceed $50,000

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness Defamation, Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

In the recent decision, Park Lawn Corporation v. Kahu Capital Partners Ltd., 2023 ONCA 129, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) provides welcome guidance on s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act, a provision introduced in 2015 to prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation (“SLAPP”). The decision under review by the ONCA is that of a judge’s dismissal of a motion brought by the appellants under s. 137.1 (“anti-SLAPP motion”). In particular, the appellants took issue with the motion judge’s conclusion that the plaintiff had proven sufficient harm caused by the defamatory statements. The appellants alleged that the motion judge failed to properly weigh the harm to the plaintiff against the public interest in protecting the appellants’ expression on matters of public interest. In dismissing the appeal, the ONCA found no reviewable error in the motion judge’s analysis, and advised that the motion judge “correctly described the legal principles … Read More

Allegedly Defamatory Review Found not to Relate to a Matter of Public Interest

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness Defamation, Civil Liability, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

In Echelon Environmental Inc. v. Glassdoor Inc., 2022 ONCA 391, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) dismissed the appellant’s appeal from a decision of the motion judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in which the motion judge denied the appellant’s request to dismiss the respondent’s defamation action under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act (“Act”), known as the “anti-SLAPP” provision of the Act. The appeal mainly focused on whether an anonymous workplace review by an employee about his/her employer relates to a matter of public interest as required by s. 137.1(3) of the Act. The ONCA opined that on such motions, “expression is to be assessed as a whole”. As such, the question is whether: “some segment of the community would have a genuine interest in receiving information on the subject”. The court must ask: “Understood in its context, what is the impugned expression really about”? … Read More

Court Orders Removal of Fake Reviews Posted by Anonymous Reviewer

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness Defamation, Business Litigation, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Cyber Libel, Defamation, Harassment, Internet Defamation, Libel, Norwich Order, Online Defamation, Online Defamation, Online Harassment0 Comments

In Obsidian Group Inc. v. Google LLC, 2022 ONSC 848, the moving party brought a motion, prior to commencing its civil proceeding, for an interim injunction requiring the removal of certain messages about it posted on its Google review page by a pseudonymous reviewer. It also sought a Norwich Order (an order requiring an innocent third party to provide certain information) directing the respondent to divulge identifying information regarding the unknown reviewer. The court found that there were “strong grounds for suspecting that” the reviews are fake. The court also found that it “would not surprise anyone” given the content of the reviews that they are “causing continuous damage” to the business of the applicant. The reviews seem “designed to discourage people from ever booking a room at the hotel” of the applicant. Further, according to statistics provided by the applicant, the reviews were “accessed several thousand times since they … Read More

Defamation Law – What is a “Broadcast” or “Newspaper” under the Libel and Slander Act?

Gilbertson Davis LLPCivil Litigation, Internet Defamation, Libel, Online Defamation, Slander0 Comments

We write further to our blog which discussed the short deadlines under Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act (“Act”) that apply to defamatory content which is considered a “broadcast” or “newspaper”[1]. The Act states that: No action for libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast lies unless the plaintiff has, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, given to the defendant notice in writing, specifying the matter complained of, which shall be served in the same manner as a statement of claim or by delivering it to a grown-up person at the chief office of the defendant. An action for a libel in a newspaper or in a broadcast shall be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the person defamed, but, where such an action is brought within that period, the action may include a claim for … Read More