Order to Identify Anonymous Message Board Users Granted (Ontario)

On May 30th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted an order to defamation plaintiff Richard Warman to help him identify two individuals he alleges defamed him by posting comments on the “Freedominion” message board.

Mr. Warman’s process of identifying eight “John Doe” defendants has taken some time. He first obtained an order in March 2009, but it was quashed in May 2010 by the Divisional Court – see “Court says suing message board operator not an easy means to identify anonymous internet users.” Following the Divisional Court order, Mr. Warman discovered six of the John Does’ identities without the aide of a court order. He then came back to the Court to identify the unidentified two.

Justice Blishen issued an order requiring the operators of the Freedominion site to provide identifying information over their objection and based on the four-part test articulated last May by the Divisional Court. She rejected an argument that the use of pseudonyms gave the unidentified John Does a reasonable expecation of privacy. She also rejected an argument that the common use of “hyperbole” and “exaggeration” on the Freedominion site rendered the impugned publications incapable of having a defamatory meaning.

Hat tip to Peg Duncan!

Warman v. Wilkins-Fournier, 2011 ONSC 3023 (CanLII).

One thought on “Order to Identify Anonymous Message Board Users Granted (Ontario)

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