Litigation Blog

Leaving It To The Experts – Or Not

February 15, 2018

Expert evidence is often crucial to assisting the trier of fact decide liability and assess damages in litigation. In Ontario, expert witnesses are expected – and required – to be fair, objective and non-partisan. Not all experts understand this, perhaps in part because, most often, they are also paid by one party or the other. This blog post will review a helpful 2017 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) that addressed two issues relating to the impartiality of experts: (1) whether counsel can cross-examine an expert witness about findings of bias in previous cases and (2) how the trial judge must exercise her “gatekeeping” role with respect to expert evidence.

No Two Libel Cases Are the Same – But Internet Libel Attracts Higher Damages

February 05, 2018

The Ontario Court of Appeal (“OCA”) recently upheld an award of $700,000.00 in damages for libel arising out of a vicious internet defamation campaign. The decision is noteworthy in the following aspects: a judicial recognition of increased damages for internet smear campaigns; less reliance on damages awards in other (defamation) cases, unlike the tendency to do so in personal injury cases; joint liability found even where one defendant does not publicly approve or repeat the defamatory statements; and vicarious liability of a company found where the company is used to perpetuate the defamation campaign, even if the actions do not inure to its benefit.

SLAPP-ed Down: SLAPP Laws Are Still Developing But One Thing is Clear – All Parties Are at Risk for Significant Costs

January 29, 2018

Recently, a mining company lost a five year battle against a non-profit environmental group in a claim for defamation, with both sides incurring significant costs in the process. The decision has implications in Canada for companies who wish to seek legal remedies against determined critics and those who defend against such defamation claims.