Defamation Lawsuit Discontinued Against David Fisman

A University of Guelph professor has formally discontinued his action against David Fisman, a so-called “expert” from recent years. The Statement of Claim, filed in late 2022, involved him, the University of Guelph, and several of their staff. This was the result of a lengthy dispute with Byram Bridle, a faculty member there.

The Notice was “with prejudice, on a no-cost basis”. With prejudice means that it can never again be refiled. Apparently, Fisman agreed to waive costs as well.

The Guelph Defendants filed a Statement of Defence, but Fisman didn’t. Instead, his lawyers opted to commence an anti-SLAPP Motion to have the allegations against him thrown out. The scheduled date was November 19th, 2024.

Keep in mind, under Ontario law, cases dismissed under anti-SLAPP laws are typically subject to “full indemnity” cost awards. This means that the Plaintiff(s) who loses will have to pay 100% of the Defendant(s) costs in addition to their own. This is done to deter people from using the legal system as a weapon to silence free speech.

Fisman doesn’t appear to have any real connection to Guelph. The suit against him has to do with some social media postings. There are (of course) allegations of a conspiracy, but none of it is properly pled. This is the sort of thing which led to Kulvinder Gill’s $1.1 million cost award nearly 2 years ago.

Back on February 28th, 2024, there was a case conference. The Guelph Defendants also commenced an anti-SLAPP Motion of their own.

At that point, Bridle was facing 2 anti-SLAPP Motions, both presumably with full-indemnity cost awards. His solution was to arrange to have one of them dropped.

True, a case is normally “stayed” (or frozen) once this is initiated, but it doesn’t prevent the parties from consenting to discontinue the matter.

While Fisman is no longer a party to this case, Guelph’s Motion is still set to be heard in 2025. Even if the Judge rules that anti-SLAPP laws (s.137.1 of Courts of Justice Act) don’t apply, it’s likely to be dismissed anyway. The reason: Bridle is a faculty member at the school. UGuelph employees are bound by a collective bargaining agreement. In particular, Article 40 outlines that arbitration — not litigation — is the expected path. See earlier review of this case. At its core, the allegations against the university itself (and its staff) amount to a workplace dispute.

Bridle dodged one bullet by dropping his case against Fisman. It remains to be seen if he’ll come to his senses regarding the University of Guelph.

(2) Byram Bridle Statement Of Claim
(3) Byram Bridle Statement Of Defence
(4) Byram Bridle Notice Of Discontinuance Fisman
(6) University Of Guelph, Text Of Collective Bargaining Agreement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Canuck Law

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading