Home Uncategorized B.C. court orders HR magazine to pay $60,000 in damages to former CEO for defamation in article

B.C. court orders HR magazine to pay $60,000 in damages to former CEO for defamation in article

by HR Law Canada

In a notable defamation case, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has awarded a former president and CEO $60,000 in damages against KMI Publishing and Events Ltd. and its writer, NM.

The ruling follows a previous decision establishing the defendants’ liability for defamation.

The case centered on an online article published by Human Resources Magazine Canada (now called HR Director Canada), owned by KMI, falsely reporting that the CEO — SP — had made fraudulent claims on a corporate expense card. Justice Winteringham previously found the article to be defamatory, as it failed to report that the accusations were unproven and did not include SP’s denial or counterclaim of wrongful dismissal and breach of contract against his former employer.

SP, who had a successful career in security and access technologies, experienced severe personal and professional repercussions following the article’s publication. He faced challenges in securing employment and suffered considerable personal distress.

The court considered factors such as SP’s standing, the nature of the libel, and the extent of publication in determining the award. The article’s online publication and the gravity of the false fraud allegations were particularly damaging to SP’s reputation, especially given his career in a field sensitive to matters of trust.

While SP sought $2.5 million in damages, including special, aggravated, and punitive damages, the court awarded $60,000 in general damages. The court did not find the defendants’ conduct to be high-handed or malicious, warranting punitive or aggravated damages. Similarly, the court did not award special damages, as SP could not definitively prove that the article directly caused his employment and financial losses.

For more information, see Pineau v KMI Publishing and Events Ltd., 2021 BCSC 1952 (CanLII)

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