Articles about Defamation Law

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Defamation Lawyer, Gil Zvulony successfully defended an Anti-SLAPP motion for his client. The case involved postings about a real estate agent on WeChat.

An Anti-SLAPP motion seeks to have a legal proceeding dismissed because it is a proceeding that limits freedom of expression on a matter of public interest (Gag Proceeding). Mr. Zvulony was one of the first to test Ontario’s anti-SLAPP legislation in the courts in another case.

The full day motion was argued virtually using Zoom. The judge found in favour of Mr. Zvulony’s client and dismissed the Anti-SLAPP motion.

In his judgment, the judge thanked Mr. Zvulony for the superb quality of his oral and written submissions. The case can be found here: Niu v. Cao, 2020 ONSC 5407 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j9kt8>

DISCLAIMER: This description is intended only to provide information about the activities and experience of our lawyers and should not be understood as a guarantee or assurance of future success in any matter. 

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Toronto Internet lawyer discusses the law with respect to online pranks and challenges.

Toronto Defamation lawyer Gil Zvulony spoke recently with the national media about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s threat of defamation proceedings against opposition leader Andrew Scheer. Mr. Zvulony believes that Trudeau faces an “uphill battle” in court and that a defamation lawsuit in Ontario would likely get dismissed under Ontario’s Anti-Gag Proceedings law.

A video Clip with the CBC is below.

The interview with the Post Millennial can be found here:


Trudeau risks more by suing Scheer: defamation expert

Trudeau takes big risk, for faint hope at winning libel suit against Scheer: defamation expert

Toronto lawyer and defamation expert Gil Zvulony says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s threat to sue Conservative leader Andrew Scheer over comments he made about the PM’s conduct involving ex-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould is “a bad move”.

By Blogtrepreneur (Legal Gavel & Closed Law Book) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Gag Proceeding Dismissed

Toronto Defamation Lawyer Gil Zvulony successfully represented his client in the Ontario Court of Appeal, in a precedent setting case that was one of the first to test Ontario’s anti-SLAPP legislation (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) in the courts. A good background on the case was published by Maclean’s magazine at the time of the lower court decision: How a Real Estate Developer’s Efforts to Silence a Critic Failed. That article described the dispute as “a defamation lawsuit filed by a Goliath of the syndicated mortgage industry against a veritable David of real estate analysts.”

The  Court of Appeal sided with Mr. Zvulony’s client and agreed that the lawsuit should be dismissed under the new law. The Court found that “this lawsuit had the strong indicia of a true SLAPP.” The Court found that the “contract” being sued on, a contract that sought to silence Mr. Zvulony’s client from speaking about the defendants, would not be enforced as it unduly interfered with Mr. Rabidoux’s right to express himself on matters of public interest. It is one of the few Canadian decisions to examine the enforceability of a “contract of silence”.

In addition to having the lawsuit dismissed Mr. Zvulony’s client was awarded his full indemnity costs in the lower court and his costs of the appeal.

  • Court of Appeal Decision: Fortress Real Developments Inc. v. Rabidoux, 2018 ONCA 686 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/htqb7>
  • Lower Court Decision: Fortress Real Developments Inc. v Rabidoux, 2017 ONSC 167 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/gwt81>

DISCLAIMER: This description is intended only to provide information about the activities and experience of our lawyers and should not be understood as a guarantee or assurance of future success in any matter. 

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What are the legal repercussions when someone is the subject of a false and damaging statement in the workplace. Are there any special considerations that apply to the workplace?

Toronto Defamation Lawyer Gil Zvulony discussed some of the legal issues in suing Twitter with Canadian Lawyer Magazine.  Gil Zvulony highlighted some of the uncertainties in the law as it relates to the liability of internet intermediaries such as Twitter. The entire article can be found here: Warren Kinsella settles claim against Twitter 

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Below is Section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act. This is Ontario’s Anti-SLAPP law. For the official version check  the E-Laws site.

Prevention of Proceedings that Limit Freedom of Expression on Matters of Public Interest (Gag Proceedings)

Dismissal of proceeding that limits debate

Purposes

137.1 (1) The purposes of this section and sections 137.2 to 137.5 are,

(a) to encourage individuals to express themselves on matters of public interest;

(b) to promote broad participation in debates on matters of public interest;

(c) to discourage the use of litigation as a means of unduly limiting expression on matters of public interest; and

(d) to reduce the risk that participation by the public in debates on matters of public interest will be hampered by fear of legal action. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Definition, “expression”

(2) In this section,

“expression” means any communication, regardless of whether it is made verbally or non-verbally, whether it is made publicly or privately, and whether or not it is directed at a person or entity. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Order to dismiss

(3) On motion by a person against whom a proceeding is brought, a judge shall, subject to subsection (4), dismiss the proceeding against the person if the person satisfies the judge that the proceeding arises from an expression made by the person that relates to a matter of public interest. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

No dismissal

(4) A judge shall not dismiss a proceeding under subsection (3) if the responding party satisfies the judge that,

(a) there are grounds to believe that,

(i) the proceeding has substantial merit, and

(ii) the moving party has no valid defence in the proceeding; and

(b) the harm likely to be or have been suffered by the responding party as a result of the moving party’s expression is sufficiently serious that the public interest in permitting the proceeding to continue outweighs the public interest in protecting that expression. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

No further steps in proceeding

(5) Once a motion under this section is made, no further steps may be taken in the proceeding by any party until the motion, including any appeal of the motion, has been finally disposed of. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

No amendment to pleadings

(6) Unless a judge orders otherwise, the responding party shall not be permitted to amend his or her pleadings in the proceeding,

(a) in order to prevent or avoid an order under this section dismissing the proceeding; or

(b) if the proceeding is dismissed under this section, in order to continue the proceeding. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Costs on dismissal

(7) If a judge dismisses a proceeding under this section, the moving party is entitled to costs on the motion and in the proceeding on a full indemnity basis, unless the judge determines that such an award is not appropriate in the circumstances. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Costs if motion to dismiss denied

(8) If a judge does not dismiss a proceeding under this section, the responding party is not entitled to costs on the motion, unless the judge determines that such an award is appropriate in the circumstances. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Damages

(9) If, in dismissing a proceeding under this section, the judge finds that the responding party brought the proceeding in bad faith or for an improper purpose, the judge may award the moving party such damages as the judge considers appropriate. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Section Amendments with date in force (d/m/y)

2015, c. 23, s. 3 – 03/11/2015

Procedural matters

Commencement

137.2 (1) A motion to dismiss a proceeding under section 137.1 shall be made in accordance with the rules of court, subject to the rules set out in this section, and may be made at any time after the proceeding has commenced. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Motion to be heard within 60 days

(2) A motion under section 137.1 shall be heard no later than 60 days after notice of the motion is filed with the court. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Hearing date to be obtained in advance

(3) The moving party shall obtain the hearing date for the motion from the court before notice of the motion is served. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Limit on cross-examinations

(4) Subject to subsection (5), cross-examination on any documentary evidence filed by the parties shall not exceed a total of seven hours for all plaintiffs in the proceeding and seven hours for all defendants. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Same, extension of time

(5) A judge may extend the time permitted for cross-examination on documentary evidence if it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Section Amendments with date in force (d/m/y)

2015, c. 23, s. 3 – 03/11/2015

Appeal to be heard as soon as practicable

137.3 An appeal of an order under section 137.1 shall be heard as soon as practicable after the appellant perfects the appeal. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Section Amendments with date in force (d/m/y)

2015, c. 23, s. 3 – 03/11/2015

Stay of related tribunal proceeding

137.4 (1) If the responding party has begun a proceeding before a tribunal, within the meaning of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, and the moving party believes that the proceeding relates to the same matter of public interest that the moving party alleges is the basis of the proceeding that is the subject of his or her motion under section 137.1, the moving party may file with the tribunal a copy of the notice of the motion that was filed with the court and, on its filing, the tribunal proceeding is deemed to have been stayed by the tribunal. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Notice

(2) The tribunal shall give to each party to a tribunal proceeding stayed under subsection (1),

(a) notice of the stay; and

(b) a copy of the notice of motion that was filed with the tribunal. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Duration

(3) A stay of a tribunal proceeding under subsection (1) remains in effect until the motion, including any appeal of the motion, has been finally disposed of, subject to subsection (4). 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Stay may be lifted

(4) A judge may, on motion, order that the stay is lifted at an earlier time if, in his or her opinion,

(a) the stay is causing or would likely cause undue hardship to a party to the tribunal proceeding; or

(b) the proceeding that is the subject of the motion under section 137.1 and the tribunal proceeding that was stayed under subsection (1) are not sufficiently related to warrant the stay. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Same

(5) A motion under subsection (4) shall be brought before a judge of the Superior Court of Justice or, if the decision made on the motion under section 137.1 is under appeal, a judge of the Court of Appeal. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Statutory Powers Procedure Act

(6) This section applies despite anything to the contrary in the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Section Amendments with date in force (d/m/y)

2015, c. 23, s. 3 – 03/11/2015

Application

137.5 Sections 137.1 to 137.4 apply in respect of proceedings commenced on or after the day the Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015 received first reading. 2015, c. 23, s. 3.

Section Amendments with date in force (d/m/y)

2015, c. 23, s. 3 – 03/11/2015

This article explores ten essential tips for dealing with defamation on the internet. It provides some simple and practical advice to people who have been libeled on the internet, including how to determine the severity of the defamation, whether the posting is defamatory, and whether it is worth suing over.

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Toronto Internet and Defamation Lawyer, Gil Zvulony sat down with CBC’s Carol MacNeil to discuss the legal issues surrounding negative online reviews on websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.  Mr. Zvulony discussed how the law of defamation can apply to online reviews. He gave some practical tips to keep in mind before authoring a negative online review about a company, such as having someone proof-read your post, and limiting your critique to facts you can easily prove. The entire clip can be viewed below.

Gil Zvulony, Toronto Defamation Lawyer, recently spoke to Law Times about the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in the defamation case of Foulidis v. Ford.  Gil Zvulony, noted the importance of naming the right parties in a defamation lawsuit, and questioned why certain parties were not added to the lawsuit.

The full article can be found here:

http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201409294219/focus-on/focus-lessons-from-ford-defamation-case