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Injunctive Relief: Going Broad Could Mean Going Home

2 minute read

In Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 183 v. Castellano, 2020 ONCA 71, the Court of Appeal dismissed Daniel Castellano’s appeal of the motion judge’s dismissal of his anti-SLAPP motion but partly allowed his appeal regarding the injunctive relief ordered by the motion judge on summary judgment.

The respondents brought a defamation action against the appellant, a former member of the respondent union, Local 183, based on a series of online posts he made against the union and several plaintiffs associated with it. The respondents moved for summary judgment while Castellano brought a motion under section 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act, also known as the “anti-SLAPP provision”. The motion judge granted the respondents’ motion for summary judgment and granted them injunctive relief prohibiting the publishing of any statements or posts about any of the respondents and restricting the appellant from attending near the respondents and their families.

On appeal, the appellant conceded that the impugned posts were defamatory and did not appeal the motion judge’s findings of defamation on the summary judgment motion. He submitted that the motion judge erred in her application of the weighing test to be carried out on the section 137.1 motion and argued that the injunctive relief was overly broad.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with respect to anti-SLAPP motion and allowed the appeal of the injunctive relief in part. It was found that the motion judge failed to carry out the required analysis to determine whether the broad permanent injunction was necessary. The court found that the evidence did not support a permanent blanket injunction because there was no evidence to support a finding that the appellant was incapable of discerning between defamatory comments and legitimate concerns. The injunction should not have been so broad as to capture non-defamatory statements. The court found that the motion judge erred in failing to consider whether the granting of the permanent injunction restricting the appellant’s movements or communication with the respondents was reasonable necessary to remedy the defamation and to prevent the continuation of the defamation campaign. The movement and communications paragraphs of the injunction order were set aside.

Takeaways:

  1. Broad ongoing injunctions are an extraordinary remedy that may be appropriate in some circumstances so long as the injunction is no broader than reasonably necessary to effect compliance.
  2. Permanent injunctions must be tailored to the specific circumstances of the case. The court must conduct a careful analysis and limit the breadth of any permanent injunction to only what is reasonably necessary to remedy the specific wrong committed and to prevent further harm

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