In this recent interview, Brian Radnoff describes the effect of
a recent defamation decision from the Court of Appeal for Ontario
(Shtaif v. Toronto Life Publishing Co.
Ltd.) on how limitation periods in the Libel and
Slander Act function, how those provisions apply to Internet
libel and the state of the "single publication rule" in
the law of Ontario.
The plaintiffs who sued in this case were unhappy about a print
version of a June 2008 Toronto Life article, but did not take legal
action. However, when the internet version surfaced in late August
2008, they gave notice under the Libel and Slander Act and
later brought an action claiming damages for defamation and
negligence. In 2011, Toronto Life brought a motion for summary
judgment to dismiss the action because according to the court, the
claim was "barred by the limitation period in the act".
The plaintiffs brought a cross-motion to amend their statement of
claim to add a claim for libel in the print version of the article.
The motion judge granted the cross-motion but dismissed the claim
for libel in the print version of the article. He also dismissed
the magazine's motion for summary judgment.
In Brian's view, by upholding the motion judge's
dismissal of the plaintiffs' claim for libel in the print
version and allowing their action for libel in the internet version
to proceed to trial "the court confirmed that the one year
period starts one year prior to the action commencing, and that the
claims for libel all must be brought within the three month
limitation period for the libel on which the plaintiff gave notice
and sued. The plaintiff cannot bring an action on one publication
and then, years later, seek to amend the claim to include libels
that occurred within year prior to the commencement of the action,
which is what the plaintiffs were trying to do in this case. The
court's interpretation is entirely consistent with the wording
of the act and is fair to defendants".
Brian also explained that the Court of Appeal rejected the
application of the U.S. "single publication rule" which
in many U.S. jurisdictions, restricts the plaintiff to suing on the
first publication of a libel and not subsequent editions, "The
court rejected adoption of this rule because it is inconsistent
with the act's provisions and previous jurisprudence which
confirms every republication is a new libel. Moreover, the court
did not believe such a rule should apply across different mediums
of communication. The rejection of this rule is sensible as it is
fundamentally inconsistent with defamation law in Ontario," he
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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