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Canadian Internet Defamation Rulings
This case is filed under Miscellaneous Cyber Libel Issues
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2021 September 16
ES v. TS, 2021 ABQB 739

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ordered the plaintiff’s ex-husband to pay damages aggregating $155,000 for “public disclosure of private facts ” and for overlapping claims of breach of confidence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  This award, which related to the defendant’s conduct in posting private, sexualized images of the plaintiff online, consisted of $80,000 for general damages, $50,000 for punitive damages, and $25,000 for aggravated damages.  Some of the images posted became available on pornography sites on the internet.

Recognizing “public disclosure of private facts” as a new common law cause of action in Alberta, the Court quoted, inter alia, from P. Voula Kotoluas and Sienna Molu, “Sexual Aggression and the Civil Response”, Annual Review of Civil Litigation 2018 (WL Can):

“The pernicious effect of online dissemination should set it apart from other forms of invasion of privacy.  … There is a real need for an effective remedy to the growing number of victims of revenge porn, which would deter potential perpetrators from engaging in this prevalent form of abuse that, until recently, attracted no real legal consequences.” 

The Court also awarded $275,000 to the plaintiff for her claims of sexual assault ($175,000 general damages; $50,000 aggravated damages; and $50,000 punitive damages).