Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An UPDATE on Ontario anti-SLAPP legislation... (Part II)

It's time for Ontario to ban SLAPPs - lawsuits brought by big companies to silence resource-poor defendants and chill free speech.

Ontario bill would crack down on SLAPP suits

TORONTO - Ontario's Liberal government is taking steps it says will protect freedom of expression by cracking down on lawsuits known as SLAPP - strategic litigation against public participation.

The government says individuals or companies use the threat of long and expensive lawsuits to intimidate opponents and discourage others from speaking out.

The legislation would give Ontario courts a new fast-track process for identifying and dealing with strategic lawsuits, and any requests to dismiss a case must be heard by the courts within 60 days.

The Liberals say the bill would minimize the time and resources wasted by plaintiffs, defendants and the courts on meritless claims, while allowing legitimate complaints to proceed.

Environmental groups applauded the anti-SLAPP legislation, saying it will protect Ontarians from the chilling impact that such lawsuits have on people who raise concerns on issues of public importance.

"SLAPPs are meritless lawsuits which are intended to prevent individuals from engaging in public debate in matters of public interest by burdening them with substantial legal costs, thereby forcing them to abandon their opposition and silencing criticism," said Theresa McClenaghan of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

"Anti-SLAPP legislation will strengthen the democratic process."

Source: The Canadian Press
             "Ontario bill would crack down on SLAPP suits"

Additional Information: Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
"Ontario’s proposed Anti-SLAPP legislation moves forward (again)"

"If it passes, Ontario’s legislation will make the province only the second in Canada – after Quebec – with an anti-SLAPP law. Contrast that to the United States, where 29 out of 50 states have such laws.

Quebec passed its law early in 2009. Like Ontario’s pending law, it says the courts may make a summary judgment that a lawsuit is an improper use of procedure – that is, a SLAPP suit – which then shifts the onus to the plaintiff to show that the suit is legitimate. It also allows the court to order the plaintiff to pay all costs."

See more at: http://j-source.ca/article/ontario-urged-pass-proposed-anti-slapp-law#sthash.CafROWZC.dpuf

>>> Reference post:
- Ugo Matulic wins $1,000,000 SLAPP suit* against Kinsman Robinson Galleries (Part I); - Law Tips for Bloggers (Part III) /SLAPP Suits/ & - An UPDATE on Ontario anti-SLAPP legislation... (Part I).
* This SLAPP suit was launched by KRG via Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (currently part of DENTONS); Lawyers involved on behalf of the Plaintiffs were Mr. Eric N. Hoffstein (Minden Gross LLP) and Ms. Chloe A. Snider (DENTONS). Lawyer which represented the Defendant was Antonin I. Pribetic of Steinberg Morton Hope & Israel LLP (Himelfarb Proszanski LLP).

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