ONSC on service to Google

Google reviews – you either love ’em or hate ’em. Negative reviews can do unimaginable harm to your reputation and there is often little you can do to remove them. One company in Ontario, however, is trying to do just that. This Pre-Claim Injunction explains the interaction between Rules 37.17 and 16.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure in determining whether email notification is acceptable as personal service.

[17]           In most cases, I would not be satisfied that when Myers J. sent the motion back to Obsidian’s counsel to be brought “on notice”, he meant notice by something other than the personal service required for an originating process. This was, after all, the first missive in this action (or proposed action) that Google, as defendant, would have received. However, Google is an unusual respondent in certain respects, and its uniqueness may impact on the way in which the ambiguity between Rule 16.01 and Rule 37.17 is interpreted.

Since Google has three dedicated email addresses dealing with litigation, Morgan, J. accepted that notice had been given. The interim injunction and Norwich Order sought was granted.

Obsidian Group Inc. v. Google LLC, 2022 ONSC 848

Decision of the Week – Bankruptcy and Fraud

This week’s decision comes from Alberta – Alberta Securities Commission v. Hennig, 2020 ABQB 48.

[1]               This is an application by the Alberta Securities Commission for a declaration that an administrative penalty levied against Theodor Hennig survives his discharge as a bankrupt pursuant to subsections 178(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, R.S. 1985, c B-3. The administrative penalty arose from the findings of a panel of the Securities Commission that Mr. Hennig was responsible for misrepresentations in the financial statements of a public company of which he was a director and officer, that he obtained financial benefits as a result of non-disclosure of material facts, that he participated in market manipulation which resulted in artificial prices for another company, and that he made ongoing misrepresentations to Commission staff, all contrary to the public interest.

2020 ABQB 48

This decision analyses the meaning of the term “offence” as used in s. 178(1)(a) of the BIA and whether it includes administrative penalties ordered by the securities commission. Justice Romaine found that:

81]           The Applicant is entitled to the following relief:

a)         a declaration that the judgment arising from the administrative penalty survives Mr. Hennig’s bankruptcy pursuant to subsection 178(1)(e) of the BIA;

b)         a direction requiring Mr. Hennig to show cause why a new judgment should not be granted as against him; and

c)         an order renewing the judgment for a period of ten years, and granting the Alberta Securities Commission a new judgment against Mr. Hennig pursuant to Rule 9.21 of the Alberta Rules of Court for the amounts remaining due and unpaid on the judgment.

Further commentary is available from this article from The Lawyers Daily.

Decisions of the Week – Sentencing

We get many requests for decisions on sentencing, particularly where parties are aware of a particular sentence, however, often the decision is not reported. Last month the Provincial Court of Manitoba published several sentencing decisions, some of which are highlighted here.

R. v. Alcantara, 2019 MBPC 67 challenged the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum sentence for the offence of luring.

[1]          …. Counsel agree that the Court should first determine the fit and appropriate range of sentence, given this offender’s personal circumstances and need not examine the constitutional issue if the Court determines that the fit and appropriate sentence is within the range set out by the mandatory minimum. On the other hand, if the Court determines that a one year sentence is grossly disproportionate for Mr. Alcantara, the constitutionality of the sentencing provision is engaged, and the Court must determine if one year in jail amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for Mr. Alcantara.

R. v. Alcantara (Rolston, P.J.)

R. v. Little, 2019 MPBC 60 concerns the appropriateness of a joint sentencing submission. Along with a pre-sentence report, the Court ordered a supplementary Gladue-style appendix for further consideration of the offender’s circumstances.

[45]        … I am therefore, given his youth, his vulnerability and his Gladue and s. 718.2(e) factors (which apply to all offenders), of the view that the jointly proposed sentence should not be confirmed, that something less will be adequate and purposeful in the offender’s unique and most unfortunate circumstances. …

R. v. Little (Corrin, P.J.)

R. v. Goodman, 2019 MBPC 77 describes the difficulty of arriving at an appropriate sentence when the offender, with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder commits a serious offence.

[1]            Sentencing is often described as more of an art than a science.  This is because although the Criminal Code sets out sentencing principles, the Court must still balance them in light of the circumstances of the offence and the offender. 

R. v. Goodman (L.M. Martin, P.J.)

All of these decisions offer significant analysis in their reasons and guidance for future sentences. The library also has other resources available for finding sentencing decisions, in print and e-book format. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for help crafting your submissions on sentencing.

Decision of the Week – S. 2(b) Charter Challenge

This decision by Lanchbery, J. concerns the right of Manitoba Public Insurance to cancel a personalized licence plate (PLP) after allowing the respondent to display it for almost two years. The slogan on the licence plate was based on characters from Star Trek.

[88]      The question before me, is the limit of s. 2(b) rights on PLPs for the purpose to “eliminate the inappropriate/possibly offensive slogans”, reasonable.

Troller v. Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, 2019 MBQB 157

The parties agreed that the decision to revoke the PLP is a discretionary administrative act of the Registrar (para. 81). Lanchbery, J. found that Charter protections are engaged, but further analysis showed that the actions of MPIC were reasonable.

One interesting fact that came out of this was that MPIC uses the Urban Dictionary as one of its sources to determine whether a potential PLP is offensive.

Decision of the Week: Hyczkewycz v Hupe

This decision deserves decision of the week status for its lengthy and exhaustive analysis of the Torrens system. Beard, J.A.’s analysis included resulting trusts and indefeasibility of title, the origins and goals of the Torrens system, both here and in Australasia where it originated, and the interplay between indefeasibility and trusts. The decision also cites a lengthy bibliiography of articles and texts that were consulted, written between 1859 and 2016.

[33]                     While there are decisions on the interpretation of indefeasibility legislation and its effect on the enforcement of unregistered claims, including resulting trust claims, against real property from the appellate courts in the other western provinces, those decisions have, in some instances, come to different conclusions.  There is, to my knowledge, no decision on point from this Court.  Given that there are some differences between the language used in the real property title registry legislation in the various jurisdictions, it is necessary to undertake a review of the origins and goals of the registry systems to determine the correct interpretation of the current legislation in Manitoba.  As all of the western jurisdictions have land registry systems based on the Torrens system of land titles (the Torrens system), this analysis requires a review of the following:  (a) the origins and goals of the Torrens system; (b) the interplay between the Torrens indefeasibility principle and trusts; and (c) Manitoba’s RPA, the effect of the indefeasibility provision and whether trusts can co-exist with indefeasibility.

2019 MBCA 74