Premier Finance

Leaving false and malicious negative online reviews can make a reviewer liable for defamation, as is illustrated by this recent case. Here, a family lumber business was recently awarded $90,000 in damages after successfully claiming defamation against a disgruntled customer.  In Premier Finance Ltd. v Ginther, 2022 BCSC 1461[1] an unhappy customer, Mr. Ginther, posted negative reviews of the lumber company on Google and Yelp after experiencing what he claimed to be poor customer service.  The plaintiff, Longhouse Specialty Forest Products, owned by Brian and Moila Jenkins, sued for $675,000 claiming that Mr. Ginther’s reviews damaged the company’s reputation and caused it financial losses.  At trial, the BC Supreme Court found that Mr. Ginther’s reviews were defamatory as the plaintiffs met the burden of proof in establishing defamation and the defendant could offer no reasonable defense.  Finding the comments both untrue and malicious, the court awarded the plaintiffs both general and aggravated damages. 

Coins in a scale

EncoreFX Inc (Re)

How should ongoing bankruptcy proceedings be handled once debts have been resolved through a subsequent CCAA process?  In a recent decision from British Columbia, EncoreFX Inc. (Re), 2023 BCSC 39[1], the province’s Supreme Court addressed this surprisingly murky question.  

Bankrupt spelled in scrabble tiles.

When Insolvency Meets Arbitration: The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Peace River v Petrowest

A natural tension exists where a company that is subject to insolvency proceedings (such as bankruptcy) is also a party to an arbitration agreement. In such cases, there may be conflicting decisions issued by the arbitrator and the insolvency court, or there may be disagreement about which forum has the authority to hear the dispute. The modern view has tended to be that agreements to arbitrate should be honored, consistent with the principles of party autonomy and freedom of contract. Insolvency procedures, however, favour a centralized judicial process and can override certain pre-insolvency agreements in order to achieve objectives in the best interests of creditors. In a much-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently weighed in on these conflicting principles in Peace River Hydro Partners v. Petrowest Corp.,[1] and, in doing so, addressed a key intersection of insolvency and arbitration law.

A disagreement between two parties.

Wolverton Pacific Partnerships v Triple F Investments Ltd

A “shotgun” clause is a mechanism found within a shareholder agreement that provides shareholders a means to address deadlocks or disagreements and typically involve one shareholder offering to buy out the other shareholder(s) at a specified price. The other shareholder(s) must either accept the offer and sell their shares or buy out the shareholder who made initial offer at the same price. It is often a mechanism of last resort where shareholders cannot settle a dispute by discussion or negotiation.[1] This legal mechanism was at the centre of a recent dispute from British Columbia, Wolverton Pacific Partnership v Triple F Investments Ltd, 2022 BCSC 1074, where the province’s Supreme Court had to decide whether the buy-out provision in a shareholders’ agreement made between two family shareholders was applicable to, and could be invoked by, the parties.