The defendant in a small claims action brought an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss pursuant to s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act. The deputy judge dismissed the action. The plaintiff appealed the decision on the merits. On appeal, both parties and the Attorney General for Ontario (who was invited to make submissions) made submissions in support of a conclusion that deputy judges of the Small Claims Court have jurisdiction to make orders under s. 137.1. The Court of Appeal held that deputy judges of the Small Claims Court do not have authority to grant orders under s. 136.1 of the CJA and set aside the order dismissing the action.
In this case, a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (“OTLA”) sent a message to other OTLA members that made allegedly defamatory comments about a doctor retained by an insurer in a claim brought pursuant to the Statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule. The motion judge dismissed the doctor’s claim against the lawyer on the basis that there was credible and compelling evidence to support the lawyer’s justification defence. On appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed and held that the doctor’s case could proceed.