BC Court accepts jurisdiction for Defamation Lawsuit Against Twitter
In an interesting case out of B.C., the B.C. Court decided to accept jurisdiction in a lawsuit against Twitter for defamtion. Giustra v. Twitter, Inc., 2021 BCSC 54. Alleged statements were made in various jurisdiction, including BC.
The Case deals with the issue of conflict of laws, where courts have to determine which law applies when there are multiple jurisdictions involved. The case focused on whether there was a real and substantial connection between British Columbia and the facts on which the proceeding was based. BC has an act called the Court Proceedings and Jurisdiction Transfer Act; Alberta has no similar act, although the common law rules are essentially the same.
The Court went on to consider a number of factors used in conflict of law. The analysis is fairly involved, and beyond the scope of this article. If you wish to read the case, it can be found here: https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2021/2021bcsc54/2021bcsc54.html
Twitter is based in California, where the tweets in question would be protected speech. Because the matter involved an individual residing in BC where tweets were heard in BC, leading to potential breaches of BC law, the Court decided that it did have jurisdiction.
While liability has not been determined, and it is an open question which law will apply, this case holds the potential of allowing civil liability in Canada against social media companies, which are protected in the United States.
If you wish to discuss a potential defamation case, please feel free to contact us.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.