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PLACARDING a lawyer ? think carefully . . . ( not condo ) 2020/11/28 22:47  
Not legal advice, as usual.

Some pretty bitter criticism of individual legal practitioners can occasionally get heard, particularly by those targetted in condo or HOA enforcement disputes. ( This ain't one such. )

Fair or not, criticism has to be careful. That includes the comment by sidewalk placarding in front of a law office.

Sokoloff v. Tru-Path 2020 ONCA 730 issued Nov 17/20

ONCA upholds lower court decision refusing an anti-SLAPP shield being attempted erected by therapist defendants in a defamation lawsuit.

The defendant therapists had placarded outside the plaintiff lawyers’ offices amidst a contract dispute with the lawyers about insurance settlement proceeds of certain injury claims settled by some of the lawyers’ clients.

NOTE : the alleged defamer therapists ARE NOT CLIENTS of the plaintiff lawyer. It's a contract-centred dispute.

But they try to argue the subject of their placarded ‘ speech’ was “public interest” ( and should be shielded from defamation claims by the target lawyers. )

Confirms that for a contract dispute where the defamation claimer merely happens incidentally to be a lawyer, such alleged defamation speech doesn’t by itself raise & trigger the “public interest” needed for the anti-SLAPP weapon.

( It's a two way street. In Platnick v Bent a S.C.C. Supreme Court of Canada majority 5:4 on appeal in 2020 agreed with ONCA Ontario's Court of Appeal that lawyer Bent’s circulated criticism met the “ public interest” criteria. But continuing : that claimant Dr. Platnick had next succeeded in overriding that shield to allow his defamation claim to continue; ie - the subject ‘speech’ had been public interest all right but can still potentially be construed sufficiently defamatory etc that it lost anti-SLAPP shield upfront

S.C.C. : “P has established on a balance of probabilities that the harm likely to be or have been suffered as a result of B’s expression is sufficiently serious that the public interest in permitting his defamation proceeding to continue outweighs the public interest in protecting B’s expression.” )
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