This is a tort about defamation on the internet. In this case, Brain Bukre, the former Vancouver Canucks general manager, has successfully won a default judgment in BC Supreme Court against five online poster who allegedly defamed him.
He was defamed in online comments accusing him of having an extra-marital affair with a sports reporter.
He says the comments are untrue, and court documents say he is suing for losses and damages to his reputation.
The initial lawsuit is filed in April, and has identified 18 commenters, some alleging personal indiscretion that Burke denied. Except for damages, his lawyer is seeking to have each of the 18 defendants restrained from publishing the statements on the Internet.
The B.C. Supreme Court has permitted Vancouver lawyer Peter Gall to serve papers via private messages on online forums to seven out of 18 individuals who anonymously posted what Burke says are defamatory comments about him.
Court document outline efforts by Burke to track down some of the commenters.
1. Widespread distribution and uncertain jurisdiction make internet cases unique
For the jurisdiction, this suit is filed in BC because Burke has had work done by a local law firm which is handling the defamation suit.
The commenters were given 33days to respond to the civil claim for damages but none have done so. The five defendants has failed to serve a notice of response with a time allowed and therefore a default judgment has been taking placed
2. Defamation is most common internet tort.
To qualify as a defamation, it must be published which mean it must heard or read by someone other than the two parties involved.
The comments are posted on online discussion forum and internet users can view the discussion threads without registering the message boards.
3. The action required for the Burke to sue defamation on the internet
Burke has not served any of the defendants with the notice of civil claim. Mr Bruke has submitted to the court that it is impracticable for him to personally serve the defendants in this circumstance.
In order for the defamation to be actionable, the court has accepted the alternate method that is suggested by Mr. Burke. The defendants would be sent a private notification to their message board account account advising them that they are named as a defendant in Mr. Burke’s defamation action and telling them how to access the notice of civil claim, and a copy of the substituted service order, at a dedicated page on the…