I have taken some flak over the length of the Statement of Claim, but I think I've done it right. It's a long and involved claim, and it needs to be pleaded very carefully. What I'm going to do today is break it down by paragraphs to explain why I've pleaded it as a have.
But before I get to that I should talk about the stroke-throughs and underlines. The claim was originally filed on April 29th. Subsequently I had a situation where I had filed a suit against Professor Bush for slander, and opposing counsel had filed a Motion to Strike. I wasn't too worried about this until I started preparing my response, and I was pretty horrified to learn how hard it is to win a case for slander. Part of this is because slander is verbal as opposed to libel which is written, and the law requires you to be very exact with regard to the words pleaded. That's almost impossible in a slander case. But along the way, I learned some things about the particular difficulties associated with pleading any kind of defamation action, and I realized that I was vulnerable not only on the Bush case, but on the present case, the one against the University for kicking me out of the program. That's when I rewrote my claim completely. The underlines and stroke-throughs reflect those amendments, as required by the Queen's Bench rules. So if you're interested and sufficiently motivated, you can go through it and compare the "before" and "after" versions. I think the present version is much more robust, and in a way I have Professor Bush to thank for that.
The other major change between the spring and the fall was I decided to add a Charter claim for Freedom of Expression. You know, professors are always giving students bad marks because the student argues for a different point of view than the professor wants to hear. But it's almost impossible to convert that into a claim for damages under Freedom of Expression. Almost but not quite. If anyone can do it, I think I can. And I'm prepared to argue it through to the bitter end, and go down fighting if necessary. It should be interesting.
Most of the remaining changes were with regard to just the overall length. I tried to cut the background narrative down to the bare minimum. Regardless, it still came to 47 paragraphs. Oh, there was one more thing: I had to drop the complaint of Conspiracy to Injure. I'm not entirely happy about this. The problem is that according to case law, you can't "tack on" a claim of Conspiracy to what is otherwise a case of defamation. It's a general rule that I felt shouldn't apply to my particular case, but after a careful review, I decided I had put enough into my claim without giving myself the additional burden of overcoming one more obstacle. So I took it out; and with it, I had to drop Dean of Education John Anchan as one of the defendants.
Which brings us to the claim. Let's go through it by paragraph and see what it consists of.
Paragraph 1: This is where you state that you are asking for damages.
Paras. 2-10: This is where I name the defendants.
Paras. 11-58: This is where I give the factual background. And then I get into what I am claiming for. Actually, at this point, we can let my Statement of Claim speak for itself:
The Plaintiff’s Claims
59. The Plaintiff claims that in their written complaints against the Plaintiff, the defendants Bell, Cantor and Metz did maliciously defame and libel the Plaintiff, as set out in paras. 65-75 below.
60. Further, or in the alternative, the Plaintiff claims that in fostering and prosecuting the said written complaints and failing to allow the Plaintiff adequate opportunity to respond to the allegations against him, the University did variously engage in
a conspiracy to injure, an intentional breach of
duty of care, a breach of contract and a denial of due process as set out in
paras 76-97 below.
61. The Plaintiff claims that in implementing the trespassing order against the Plaintiff, the University and Colin Russell did maliciously defame the plaintiff as set out in paras. 98-106 below.
62. The Plaintiff claims that insofar as the defendants actions were motivated by a belief that the plaintiff suffered from a mental disability, that they violated his Charter Rights as set out in paras 107-111 below.
63. The plaintiff claims that in her written complaint against the plaintiff, the defendant JANE DOE did maliciously defame and libel the plaintiff, as set out in paras. 112-117 below.
64. The Plaintiff claims that insofar as the defendants’ actions were motivated by a desire to silence the Plaintiff’s right to express his opinions, that they violated his Charter Rights as set out in paras 118-131 below.
And that's it. Six separate causes of action, all rolled up in one big Statement of Claim. When we return, we'll have more to say about the various claims.