Directors libeled by e-mail


September 21, 2017 - In a recent Ontario ruling, a syndicate of co-owners has been authorized to present a request with Yahoo to unmask the author of potentially defamatory e-mails. These anonymous messages were sent to the immovable’s co-owners and occupants, under the user name « Ian Fleming ».



Following the resignation of the Co-ownership’s Superintendent, one of these e-mails alleged that members of the Board of Directors had engaged in questionable conduct. Essentially, they would have turned a blind eye to the actions of a contractor harassing the superintendent because they were receiving bribes from the said contractor.

The Ontario Superior Court allowed the request to Yahoo for various reasons. Firstly, the plaintiff syndicate established that its application was legitimate because the words used in several messages had a defamatory content. The court found that the procedure was a step in the right direction, to avoid henceforth that the syndicate be the victim of statements that could harm its directors’ reputation

The court also found that Yahoo was "involved" (to a certain extent) in these reprehensible acts, because without the emails service it offers its users, these messages would not have been transmitted. Yahoo’s costs to comply with the court order were negligible. The syndicate concerned was to compensate the company for its reasonable expenses invested to locate the perpetrator of these derogatory e-mails. Its author will in all likelihood be surprised that the syndicate was able to trace its identity.

Several lawyers remind us that sending anonymous and malicious emails to the other co-owners of the immovable, on account of a disagreement with some director’s decisions is inappropriate. A fortiori if these messages contain potentially defamatory content.

Montreal, September 21, 2017

Source: Lash / Condo Law