Sotos lawyer Sabrina Callaway has obtained the first judicial ruling to award damages to the defendant under Ontario’s so-called “Anti-SLAPP legislation”. The Anti-SLAPP legislation allows for the early dismissal of a “strategic lawsuit against public participation”.

The plaintiff sued a Stouffville resident for defamation over her comments on Facebook. The Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit against the defendant.

“The only apparent reason for the action to continue is as an impediment to public discussion and debate… There is no merit [in the action]”, wrote the Court. The objectives of anti-SLAPP legislation are directed to public engagement in matters of interest to the public. As such, in this case freedom of expression trumped other considerations. There was no serious harm to the plaintiff that outweighed the public interest in protecting the resident’s right to free speech.

The Court found that the action was undertaken and litigated for an improper purpose and awarded the defendant $7,500 in damages for the stress that she suffered as a result.

Media Coverage