Successful defamation lawsuits involve legal pursuits where the claimants establish that untruthful remarks about them have tarnished their good standing. These cases typically require the claimants to prove that the slanderous claims were false, damaging, and made in a culpable or careless manner. Victories in defamation cases can span various situations, from conventional media slander to digital defamation on blogs or social media sites.
These cases are significant as they reinforce fairness, honesty, and responsibility in communication. They offer a judicial solution for those whose names have been wrongly stained by insincere statements, helping restore their honour and dignity. Effective defamation lawsuits also serve as a preventative measure, dissuading individuals and organizations from making untrue and damaging remarks about others.
The most successful defamation lawsuits should be backed by solid evidence substantiating the falsehood of the statements. There must be a distinct display of damage to the claimant’s reputation, and an equitable legal process. Claimants should work with skilled defamation lawyers who can guide them through the intricate legal terrain. They should amass persuasive proof, and make a powerful case in court.
Let’s learn about ten successful defamation cases in Canada.
Most successful defamation cases in Canada
Here are the top Canadian defamation cases and their payout amounts:
|Tanvir Farid Case||$4.7 million|
|Kevin Johnston Case||$2.5 million|
|Valley Traffic Systems Case||$1.5 million|
|Rabinowitz & Berger Case||$700,000|
|Daniel Bordman Case||$500,000|
|Serge Bibeau Case||$500,000|
|Jared A. Shapira Case||$450,000|
List of successful defamation cases in Canada
- Tanvir Farid Case
- Kevin Johnston Case
- Valley Traffic Systems Inc Case
- Rabinowitz & Berger Case
- Daniel Bordman Case
- Serge Bibeau Case
- Jared A. Shapira Case
Tanvir Farid Case
$4.7 million payout in successful defamation case
In a landmark Canadian defamation case, a lone defendant was ordered to pay $4.7 million to 53 plaintiffs. It was compensation for ten years of persistent harassment and online defamation. The saga unfolded in 2012 when Tanvir Farid began his anonymous crusade against the defendants. He bombarded the internet with countless false accusations that painted them as swindlers, criminals and sexual predators.
Tanvir Farid – Case Details
Over the years, Farid’s victims laboured relentlessly to uncover the source of these defamatory claims. Their efforts culminated in hiring a private forensic identification firm that disclosed Farid’s identity and connected physical evidence to the defamation. This was done through a court-ordered civil search-and-seizure warrant.
In a separate case, former PPC candidate Chelsea Hillier also faced a $100,000 penalty due to defamation. This was after investigators seized multiple electronic devices from her residence. This discovery led authorities straight to Farid’s laptop – its IP addresses matched those previously detected at various locations by investigators, such as local cafés and Toronto Public Library branches.
Tanvir Farid – Case Payout
Representing the plaintiffs, Brenner emphasized that this case’s primary goal was to rebuild tarnished reputations rather than chase monetary gain. Interestingly, most plaintiffs were executives or recruiters for information technology firms who had declined to employ Farid – none had encountered him face-to-face.
Finally, Justice Ramsay declared Farid guilty of cyber harassment, cyber stalking and cyber defamation. The court decreed that Farid was liable for damages amounting to $4,773,000. Furthermore, he was barred from disseminating additional defamatory content about his victims.
Kevin Johnston Case
$2.5 million payout in successful defamation case
Former Mississauga mayoral candidate Kevin Johnston was ordered to pay $2.5 million for making abhorrent, Islamophobic remarks targeting renowned restaurant chain proprietor Mohamad Fakih. The judge’s verdict lambasted Johnston’s actions and commentary as appalling.
The case can be traced back to July 20th, 2018, during a Liberal Party fundraiser featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Mississauga Paramount location. The defendants were responsible for disseminating eight videos that perpetuated falsehoods and harmful statements about Fakih – going so far as to label him an “economic terrorist.” Allegations even circulated that Fakih was under investigation by CSIS. Further confrontation occurred when the defendants confronted Fakih during an outing with his children.
Johnston faced $2.5 million in penalties, ruled by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for defamation. The judgment highlighted Johnston’s harassment of Fakih’s legal representatives and broadcasting menacing messages targeted at Fakih.
For Fakih, this judgment is a forceful reminder that those who spew hatred online will inevitably face consequences. The court ruling further emphasizes examining Johnston’s actions through a broader lens. Fakih expressed that he took this action to ensure his children understand that bullies and those who spout hatred are in the wrong. Canada will always stand up for them.
Valley Traffic Systems Inc Case
$1.5 million payout in successful defamation case
A fierce battle among companies for a lucrative BC Hydro contract turned into a $1.5-million defamation case award. The court held Valley Traffic Systems Inc., Remon Hanna, Philip Keith Jackman, and Trevor Paine responsible.
In 2012, numerous websites published an article vilifying Raoul Malak as involved in “corruption, bribery, and money laundering,” participating in “kick-back schemes” and “tax evasion,” among other accusations. Despite the article published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the court identified Hanna as the author.
Remon Hanna was employed by Ansan Group in 2010 but left after his relationship with Malak became sour. Afterward, he attempted to secure financing for a traffic control business but didn’t work until joining VTS in 2012.
In their suit, Malak and the Ansan Group of traffic control companies highlighted the slanderous article and other materials such as emails and a YouTube poem. The materials were deliberately crafted to tarnish the company’s reputation. The ultimate goal was allegedly to increase VTS’s chances of securing the BC Hydro contract and other opportunities.
Valley Traffic Systems Case – Payout
Judge Mayer sided with the plaintiffs, deducing that the court should infer that Hanna, Jackman, and Paine collaborated on the slanderous campaign. This was despite their objections.
Malak’s lawsuit sought a total of $2.5 million in compensation, along with an additional $500,000 for every associated Ansan Group company. However, Judge Mayer ruled there was insufficient proof of a direct link between defamation and VTS securing the BC Hydro contract. Instead, VTS, Jackman, Paine, and Hanna are all jointly and severally liable for the total damage cost of $1.5 million.
Rabinowitz & Berger Case
$700,000 payout in successful defamation case
In a Canadian case involving two businessmen, Saul Rabinowitz and Moishe Bergman were ordered to compensate their former colleague with a $700,000. This was the result of their ruthless and persistent online defamation crusade against him. The court deemed the damages awarded appropriate, considering the extreme ordeal the victim experienced.
This online defamation scenario unfolded in 2008, spurred by company control disagreements. Rabinowitz sent incognito emails and published derogatory comments about Ronald Rutman on a web-based message board. Rabinowitz used multiple email accounts to contact Rutman’s associates and others. He also posted defamatory statements on a professional review website, accusing Rutman of money laundering and tax evasion.
Consequently, Rutman filed a lawsuit against Rabinowitz and Bergman for libel.
Rainowitz & Berger Case – Payout
The Court of Appeal chose to maintain the significant compensatory damages and dismiss their appeals. It emphasizes that online defamation can be a powerful tool, even if the intention is to ruin someone’s image. The damages totalled $700,000.
The Appeal Court declared that Rabinowitz’s actions intensified Rutman’s torment and anxiety, warranting a substantial aggravated damages payout. The court acknowledged that every libel case is unique and should account for individual nuances with due consideration.
Matthew Sammon, an attorney representing Rutman during the appeal, highlighted that this verdict reasserts that specific reputation damage is unnecessary when assigning damages in online defamation cases.
Daniel Bordman Case
$500,000 awarded in successful defamation case
Walied Soliman, O’Toole’s campaign chair and a Muslim attorney, recently received a $500,000 defamation award in his case against “alt-right” commentator Daniel Bordman. The case revolved around Bordman’s false accusations of Soliman’s terrorism support, shared on various social media platforms and websites.
Initiated in February 2020, the lawsuit holds personal significance for Soliman—who has faced similar attacks before—but also contributes to an expanding legal precedent that imposes severe penalties for defamatory content shared online.
Bordman made three types of defamatory statements about Soliman. One falsely claimed that Soliman advocated for Sharia law in Canada. In addition to suing Bordman, Soliman also sued his parents and TAG TV, the platform that hosted Bordman’s show. Eventually, the claims were settled, and TAG TV’s website now features a prominent apology for Soliman.
Ontario judge Perell granted a $2.5 million defamation award. He banned Bordman from making public remarks about Soliman. This was due to his inability to distinguish between non-defamatory and malicious assertions.
In another case, Kevin Johnston was found guilty of defaming a Muslim restaurant owner through videos and online posts. Johnston received an 18-month prison sentence for persisting in his defamation campaign.
However, the judge refrained from addressing other allegations concerning Bordman’s character and affiliations.
Serge Bibeau Case
$500,000 payout in successful defamation case
Serge Bibeau was sued for besmirching Marcel Chartier’s reputation and informing business colleagues that Chartier was a thief. Upon discovering this, Marcel Chartier took legal action against Serge Bibeau, and the court granted him a substantial $500,000 in damages. This sizable compensation served as a cautionary tale for those who think they can tarnish a business partner’s reputation without consequences.
The slanderous case between Bibeau and Chartier can be traced back to a 2009 investment deal. During discussions, Bibeau told a hotelier that Chartier had pilfered funds from him for an Ikea project, putting his credibility at risk. Cambrian Credit Union’s loans officer also caught wind of similar defamatory remarks made by Bibeau. Conversing with a credit union manager, Bibeau accused Chartier and his son of stealing from him.
Serge Bibeau Case – Payout
In 2018, Marcel Chartier sued Winnipeg businessman Serge Bibeau. He learned that Bibeau had accused him of stealing from another business associate. Chartier, a Winnipeg-based real estate investor and developer, was embroiled in defamation litigation with a business partner in November 2018.
Although Chartier couldn’t pinpoint a concrete financial setback, he contended that the remarks had tarnished his standing within the business realm and caused him personal anguish. The jury awarded him a generous $500,000.00.
Jared A. Shapira Case
$450,000 payout in successful defamation case
A medical professional from Winnipeg sought compensation from a freelance author accused of online defamation. The lawsuit involved Jared A. Shapira. He engaged in text messaging, letter writing, and online posting about a Winnipeg surgeon yet never brought the whole story to light.
Shapira contacted the surgeon 14 times via text, requesting a meeting. He warned that he would contact the police and CancerCare’s CEO if his request went unaddressed. In a letter addressed to multiple health authorities and on his public social media profiles, Shapira disclosed accusations against a “premier surgeon” affiliated with CancerCare.
Jared A. Shapira Case – Payout
The court mandated that Shapira cease defaming the physician and barred him from further social media postings. Shapira admitted to having no previous contact with the doctor before pursuing the story. He removed the lone defamatory tweet upon request.
Ultimately, the judge ruled in favour of the surgical oncologist, granting them $106,088 for situational depression. In addition, the judge granted an additional $350,000 for future earnings loss, aggravated and punitive damages, and legal expenses.