Tort Tuesday: Residential school class action to endure despite campaign promises

Members of various First Nations walk to honour residential school survivors in Vancouver, B.C. June 11, 2015.
Members of various First Nations walk to honour residential school survivors in Vancouver, B.C. June 11, 2015. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

Residential school lawsuits are nothing new in Canada. Most get settled. Some even get settled with an apology to the survivors.

However, a residential school lawsuit in Labrador seems to have gotten quite a bit more complicated. In many cases, the federal government is sued and is able to settle with survivors.

In this case, the federal government has been fighting the case, maintaining they are not the responsible party here. The federal government is arguing that because Labrador schools’ have been created before Confederation occurred, the responsibility for these schools doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction.

Now, despite the newly-elected Liberal government’s assurance that this case will be settled, the case was back in court last Wednesday.

To be fair, the Liberal government was just elected a week ago, so they may have not had the time to get to the negotiation table and probably won’t until a new government is formed on November 4.

In the meantime, the survivors are forced to testify about the horrific abuses they experienced.

Vancouver journalist not appealing in defamation lawsuit loss

Be careful of the accusations you make, they may come back to haunt you.

A freelance journalist has decided not to appeal a lawsuit that found that she made defaming public statements against a public official.

The journalist in question, Laura Robinson, was sued by John Furlong –  the former Vancouver Olympics CEO - for defamation of character.

Robinson had written a 2012 article that contained abuse allegations from indigenous students at a B.C. school. Furlong had taught at that school about 40 years ago.

Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that Robinson had indeed defamed Furlong and that Furlong had the right to defend himself from an “attack on his character, conduct and credibility.”

Robinson decided that there was no point to an appeal, and that it wouldn’t achieve her objective of having the voices of indigenous people heard.

This isn’t Furlong’s first lawsuit dealing with abuse allegations. The B.C. Supreme Court has tossed out two previous accusations of sexual abuse against Furlong, who maintains his innocence.

Furlong plans to pursue legal costs against Robinson.

Fake reviews lawsuit brought by Amazon

Amazon Canada users be warned: do not post phony reviews on Amazon or you could find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit.

Amazon, who is the largest online retailer in the world, has filed a lawsuit against 1000 people whom the retailer accuses of having posted phony reviews.

This lawsuit was filed last week in a Washington state court.

Amazon alleges that the 1000 people wrote phony five star reviews of products which they never even used – all so that Amazon safeguards could be undermined and website reviews, for the product makers, would be strengthened.

Fake reviews are nothing new, and are the bane of online retailers. This practice is also called “astroturfing”, and other big online companies like TripAdvisor and Yelp have are also dealing with the problem.

Amazon has also stated that the wrongdoers are accountable for breach of contract as they contravened the company’s terms of service.

The online retailer is suing for unspecified damages and an injunction order to get the offenders to stop writing phony reviews.

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