2018 April 19
United Soils Management Ltd. v Barclay, 2018 ONSC 1372
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted a defence Anti-SLAPP motion pursuant to s. 137 of the Courts of Justice Act and dismissed a defamation action over the defendant’s post on a closed Facebook group. That post criticized a decision by a town council to expand dumping rights at a gravel pit operated by the plaintiff company. The Court noted that the post was quickly deleted, the Facebook group was reclassified from a “closed group” to a “secret group”, and that the Facebook Group was entirely shut down and its contents deleted the same day the defendant received Notices of Defamation and warnings about defamation lawsuits to be launched by the plaintiff company. In the particular circumstances of this case, the Court held, inter alia, that the post was not defamatory, that the plaintiff failed to establish there were no defences available, and that the defendant should be awarded $20,000 damages and $126,438.55 for legal costs.