Friday, September 13, 2013

Canadian libel judgment not enforceable

I follow cases that threaten my free speech rights to tell my story on this blog, and here is a new case about a Mississippi blogger sued for defamation in Canada. He lost a default judgment in Canada by not showing up, but a US law said that US courts could not be used to make him pay.
Trout Point sued for defamation in Nova Scotia. Handshoe didn’t appear, so the Nova Scotia court entered a default judgment against him. “Ultimately, the court awarded Trout Point Lodge $75,000 in general damages, and Leary and Perret each $100,000 in general damages, $50,000 in aggravated damages, and $25,000 in punitive damages. It also awarded $2,000 in costs.” Plaintiffs then tried to enforce the judgment in Mississippi.

The Fifth Circuit concluded that the judgment was unenforceable. First, the court pointed out that Canadian defamation law doesn’t have the same protections for defendants that have been imposed under the First Amendment on American defamation law. Most significantly for this case, the court noted, Canadian law requires the defendant speaker to prove the truth of the assertions, while American law requires the plaintiff to prove falsehood (at least for statements on matters of public concern).

Second, the court concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence that Handshoe would have been found liable under American defamation law. ...

Specifically, Handshoe posted several updates regarding Trout Point Lodge, Perret, and Leary, which the district court noted “can be characterized as derogatory, mean spirited, sexist, and homophobic.”
I guess that it is illegal in Canada to post comments that “can be characterized as derogatory, mean spirited, sexist, and homophobic.”

I have complained about courts attacking free speech in the USA, as with Dan Brewington, but other countries are worse.

In Canada, it might be illegal for me to complain about psychologist Ken Perlmutter following Jewish stereotypes and ethics when doing court-appointed evaluations. If he sued me in California, he would not only lose, but I would be able to collect attorneys fees.

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