2021 January 19
Accident Legal Solution inc. v. Accident Direct inc., 2021 QCCS 96
The Quebec Superior Court granted the plaintiff Accident Legal Solution an interlocutory injunction requiring the defendant company and its principal to remove certain disparaging comments and posts from its website and Facebook timeline. The interlocutory injunction also prohibits the defendant from publishing anything else concerning the plaintiff on its website, Facebook timeline or its blog. The Court held that the evidence filed by the plaintiff showed there was a serious issue to be tried, that the plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm if the pre-trial injunction were rejected, and that the plaintiff is likely to suffer more damage if the injunction is not granted than the defendant will suffer if an injunction issues. The Court noted that the defendants did not dispute that the words complained of by the plaintiff were defamatory and false. They relied only on a limitation defence, alleging the publications had been on their website, blog and Facebook page since May and June, 2018. The limitation period prescribed by article 2929 of the Quebec Civil Code is one year from the date the plaintiff learns of the defamation. The plaintiff alleged it only became aware of the Internet publications in June, 2019. Taking into account the statutory suspension of limitation periods from March 15, 2020 to September 1, 2020 (COVID-19 related), the plaintiff’s lawsuit was arguably not barred by the one year limitation period. The Court also suggested that comments published by the defendants in May and June 2019, which referred to the 2018 publications, restarted the limitation period for the latter.