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Posted in Defamation, Media

Negative reviews posted on websites such as Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Glassdoor, and Facebook can be devastating to companies, and perhaps even fatal to small businesses and sole practitioners who rely on goodwill and word of mouth recommendations. Although the ill effects of a single negative review may be mitigated in cases where it is outweighed by positive ...

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Publication (communication of defamatory material to someone other than the plaintiff) is an essential element in a defamation claim. In the recent decision in Malak v Hanna, 2019 BCCA 106 (“Malak”) the British Columbia Court of Appeal confirmed that merely sending a hyperlink to defamatory material does not constitute publication.  

In Malak, the plaintiff and his ...

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Posted in Defamation

The B.C. Supreme Court recently dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims in Northwest Organics, Limited Partnership v Roest, 2018 BCSC 866, a defamation action relating to a commercial composting facility. The claim arose after years of conflict between residents of a rural community who opposed construction of the facility and the facility’s owners. The residents had ...

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Posted in Defamation

In a recent precedent-setting case, the Ontario trial court considered the boundaries of what is acceptable speech in the internet blogosphere. The case is one of first impression in Canada. As the court observed: “Political debate in the Internet blogosphere can be, and, often is, rude, aggressive, sarcastic, hyperbolic, insulting, caustic and/or vulgar. It is not ...

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Posted in Defamation

In a decision released November 10, 2014, the BC Court of Appeal rejected an attempt to create a novel common law defence in the law of defamation against so-called SLAPP suits. In Northwest Organics, Limited Partnership v. Maguire, 2014 BCCA 454, the court upheld the chambers judge’s decision and declined to radically change the law of defamation by introducing such a ...

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Posted in Defamation

A recent decision from the British Columbia Supreme Court is a reminder that interlocutory restraints on speech are possible in Canada, albeit in rare circumstances.

In Richardson v. Hunter, 2014 BCSC 1960, the court issued an interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendant from publishing words that suggest that the plaintiff engaged in criminal conduct. The remedy ...

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Posted in Defamation

In 2012, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed a defamation claim over a corporate news release that provided general information about the intended response to a lawsuit.  The case was dismissed on the grounds that news releases issued by public companies to report on litigation brought against them are published on occasions of either absolute or qualified privilege.  As such ...

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Are submissions, evidence and statements made in a regulatory proceeding subject to the same protection of absolute privilege that applies in a court? Not always; it depends on the proceeding.

In Wilson v Williams, 2013 BCCA 471, the court held that absolute privilege did not apply to statements made in letters submitted by persons who had registered as interveners in a ...

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Posted in Defamation

Likely to the relief of publicly traded companies, the B.C. Supreme Court recently dismissed a claim in defamation over a corporate news release that provided general information about the intended response to a lawsuit.  The court did so on the grounds that news releases issued by companies to report on litigation brought against them are published on occasions of either ...

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Posted in Defamation

Headlines in Canada have been dominated recently by allegations published by the Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver against John Furlong, the former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics.

The allegations are serious. They claim Furlong physically abused First Nation students when he was a teacher in Burns Lake, B.C. in 1969. In response, Furlong issued a statement denying ...

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This blog is authored by members of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department. We follow new and interesting issues emerging in the legal and business communities. The wide range of experience among the members of our litigation group will provide a diverse and insightful examination of current legal trends and topics. Our goal is to provide a source of valuable information and insight on a wide variety of matters for our readers.

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