Regular readers of this site will likely remember a $12.75 million lawsuit brought in late 2020 by Kulvinder Gill and Ashvinder Lamba. They attempted to bankrupt and destroy 23 people and media outlets, largely over mean words on Twitter. Thankfully, sanity prevailed, and the case was dismissed as a SLAPP, or a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. (Ruling here).
Yes, Twitter is a cesspool, but this was ridiculous.
As it turns out, however, this isn’t the only time Gill has tried something like this. In March 2021, she filed a $7 million lawsuit against Amir Attaran and the University of Ottawa, over much the same things.
Note: although the court search shows $5 million as the total, a read through the Statement of Claim makes it clear that it’s actually $7 million being sought.
To avoid confusion, these are the 2 lawsuits:
Case #1: Gill & Lamba v. MacIver et al (dismissed as SLAPP)
Case #2: Gill v. Attaran & University of Ottawa (open, but dormant)
The first case was for $12.75 million, and the second for another $7 million. It takes a serious ego trip to think that words on Twitter are worth around $20 million.
Now, what were the specific defamatory statements for the second case?
No joke. Those are the statements provided from Attaran. In terms of raw content, this is far, FAR weaker than the last case, which was thrown out.
Think this is worth $7 million?
This apparently came from Attaran, who is a faculty member at the University of Ottawa. So, by extension, the school itself must be on the hook as well. Yeah, that’s not an abuse of the legal system in any way.
The big case with Gill and Lamba suing 23 parties was thrown out as a SLAPP, and never made it to trial. Here’s a brief quote from the Courts of Justice Act of Ontario, explaining the rationale behind having this option for certain types of cases.
It should be noted that there’s no qualification as to what opinions are allowed in the public arena. Provided the statements relate to topics of a public interest, virtually anything can be given protections. It’s also a very low burden to qualify as being “of a public concern”.
Here’s a simplified explanation of SLAPP:
(1) Defendants file a motion, and they must meet the “threshold burden”. This is to convince a Judge that it relates to matters of public interest.
(2) Afterwards, the burden shifts to the Plaintiffs, who must meet 3 tests in order to keep the case alive. If even one branch is failed, the lawsuit is dismissed. They must demonstrate that:
(a) There is substantial merit to the case;
(b) There are no reasonable defenses available; and
(c) There is greater interest in reputation than protecting the expression, even if the case does meet the minimum requirements for defamation
SLAPP legislation is meant to prevent people from using the Courts as a weapon to forcibly silence discussion on public interest issues. Simple name calling or insults don’t qualify. In the previous case, the Plaintiffs couldn’t even meet a single part of that test.
This case with Attaran and the University of Ottawa would almost certainly be tossed for the same reasons. The Court won’t take a Twitter spat seriously for the purposes of handing out millions of dollars.
That being said, it appears that there are no real efforts underway to force that case to trial. Nothing has been filed since the Notice of Intent back in June 2021. The case has been dormant for over a year. It’s unclear what the purpose of filing it was, since there wasn’t even any publicity concerning it.
It’s also worth pointing out that “full indemnity” is the default result of a successful SLAPP motion. What this means is that if the case is dismissed, the Defendants are entitled to 100% of their costs. According to sources from the last case, it cost about $1.3 million to defend 23 Defendants. It’s unclear how much it would cost Attaran and the University of Ottawa to do the same thing.
This is just a hunch, but the University of Ottawa probably has insurance to cover such things. What a great use of student fees.
One more thing: this upcoming case with Attaran won’t go anywhere in the foreseeable future as Gill likely doesn’t have representation at this point. Court searching also showed that Gill and Lamba are taking action against their lawyers from the last case. The amount is $5,672.66, presumably what they are out of pocket already, or at least a portion of it.
Gill and Lamba are likely also outraged at being abandoned during their appeal of the February 2022 ruling. But it all fairness, it never had a chance. And when it’s eventually dismissed, it will just add to the costs from the Trial Court.
Granted, Gill and Lamba appear to have gotten horrible legal advice for the 2 lawsuits (Lamba was only involved in the first). Still, reasonable and well educated people shouldn’t be doing such things, so it’s difficult to have much sympathy for them.
Strange, even the “alternative” media doesn’t cover these things.
Now, this is just an opinion, but people who act this way probably shouldn’t be in positions of power or influence. If some means words is enough to cause someone to attempt to destroy or bankrupt another, then they don’t have the temperament or self control needed.
In other news: members of the public can SEARCH FOR FREE in Ontario as to the updates on such cases. British Columbia has COURT SEARCH ONLINE, but that’s behind a paywall. Instead of taking the word of people who have incentives to drive fundraising — or some reporter on the internet — go check the cases for yourselves.
Ontario Superior Court, Civil Branch
330 University – Toronto
330 University Ave.
Toronto ON M5G 1R7
Court file numbers provided
Civil – Superior Court of Justice
tel. 416-327-5440 (front desk)
CSD.SCJRecords(at)ontario.ca (records department)
An ambitious person showing initiative can also verify what’s been happening with various cases by contacting the court directly, or by visiting. There are many options.
- Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), et. Al. (and others) v. Her Majesty the Queen, et.al. (and others) Ontario Superior Court #CV-00629810-0000. Filed October 2019. No movement since pleadings closed in March 2020.
- Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), et. Al. (and others) v. Justin Trudeau, et.al. (and others) Ontario Superior Court #CV-20-00643451-0000. Filed July 2020. Single Notice of Intent filed September 2020. No movement at all since.
- Gill & Lamba v. MacIver et al. Ontario Superior Court #CV-20-00652918-0000. Filed November 2020. Dismissed as a SLAPP, or strategic lawsuit against public participation. Appealed, but status unknown.
- Gill v. Attaran & University of Ottawa, Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00658784-0000. Filed March 2021. A Notice of Intent to Defend (not an actual Statement of Defense) was filed in July 2021. No movement since then
- Sgt. Julie Evans, et al v. AG of Ontario, et al Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00661200-000. Filed April 2021. No movement since Notice of Application filed.
- M.A. and L.A., et al vs. Eileen De Villa, et al Ontario Superior Court #CV-21-00661284-0000. Filed April 2021. No movement since Notice of Application filed.
- Action4Canada, et al vs. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Justin Trudeau, Premier Horgan, et al British Columbia Superior Court # VLC-S-S-217586. Filed August 2021. Awaiting decision for Application to Strike given the exceptionally poor quality drafting of the Statement of Claim
Not too encouraging, is it?
Good thing there are people who will put in the effort to bring the real truth out to the public. Virtually no media outlets do that.