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

Internet Harassment: New Tort Recognized in Ontario

Gilbertson Davis LLPBusiness Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Harassment0 Comments

Following up on our previous blog in which we advise that the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that there is no common law tort of harassment, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has now recognized the new tort of online harassment. In the recent decision, Caplan v. Atas, 2021 ONSC 670 (CanLII), the court recognized the inadequacies in the current legal system’s responses to internet defamation and harassment matters. The court opines that while defamation law and freedom of speech have created a balance in society which promotes both free democratic debate and protection of one’s reputation simultaneously, the internet has “cast that balance into disarray”. Recognition of the New Tort of Harassment The difficulty in the cases before the court was that the defendant was not deterred from further egregious conduct even in the face of multiple severe consequences. The defendant was also impecunious, so compensation was not a … Read More