The British Columbia Supreme Court recently granted an order
permitting substituted service on anonymous users of several
Internet-based forums in a defamation action. In Burke v. John Doe, 2013 BCSC 964, the
plaintiff, Brian Burke, sued eighteen individuals for defamation
for statements made in on-line posts. Burke sought to serve seven
of those defendants with the Notice of Claim by sending a private
message on message boards used by the defendants.
The court agreed that personal service of the Notice of Claim
was impractical. Although it might be possible to obtain an order
requiring the operators of the message boards to provide
subscription information, this was likely only to reveal the e-mail
address given by the user when the user created the account. Not
only would this be time-consuming and expensive, the e-mail address
obtained from the message board provider might not be active.
However, each of the message boards provided a private message
function where one user could send a direct message to another
user. The evidence suggested that the defendants were either still
active or were recently active on the message boards. The court
 In my view, it is reasonably likely, or probable, that
notice of the proceedings will come to the attention of the Message
Board Defendants by the proposed method. Mr. Brandt's affidavit
establishes that, according to their profiles on the message
boards, the Message Board Defendants regularly log into the very
accounts on which they posted the allegedly defamatory statements
and use message boards and the Internet as a regular means of
communication. They will be notified that they have received a
personal message upon logging into their account in an online forum
in which they have chosen to participate.
Dentons is a global firm driven to provide you with the
competitive edge in an increasingly complex and interconnected
marketplace. We were formed by the March 2013 combination of
international law firm Salans LLP, Canadian law firm Fraser Milner
Casgrain LLP (FMC) and international law firm SNR Denton.
Dentons is built on the solid foundations of three highly
regarded law firms. Each built its outstanding reputation and
valued clientele by responding to the local, regional and national
needs of a broad spectrum of clients of all sizes –
individuals; entrepreneurs; small businesses and start-ups; local,
regional and national governments and government agencies; and
mid-sized and larger private and public corporations, including
international and global entities.
Now clients benefit from more than 2,500 lawyers and
professionals in 79 locations in 52 countries across Africa, Asia
Pacific, Canada, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Russia and
the CIS, the UK and the US who are committed to challenging the
status quo to offer creative, actionable business and legal
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ten days following the election, join us for a discussion with Gary Doer, former Canadian Ambassador to the US, and Gordon Giffin, US Ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, to discuss how the new President and Congressional makeup will shape US-Canada relations for years to come.
On November 8, 2016, the United States will go to the polls to elect their 45th president. Whether it is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, this decision will profoundly shape American policy for the next four to eight years. As our largest trading partner and neighbour to the south, the next US administration will influence a broad range of policy issues that directly impact Canada. These include the future of NAFTA and the TPP, the Arctic and geo-politics, the renewal of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, and the energy sector.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).