SCC Upholds Libel Judgment Against Canadian Newspaper

On May 3, 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application for leave to appeal, upholding the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision awarding $780,000 in damages against The Globe and Mail in a defamation action brought by Robert Hodgson, former Commissioner of Engineering for the Region of York. In March 1991, a front-page story ran in The Globe and Mail which made wrongful allegations regarding Mr. Hodgson.

The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s decision to award damages in the amount of $380,000 for lost wages and $400,000 in general damages, but refused to uphold an award for punitive damages of $100,000. Mr. Justice Robert J. Sharpe felt that given the other damages awarded, punitive damages were not required to achieve the goals of punishment and deterrence. Acting for Mr. Hodgson was Philip Healey of Aird & Berlis LLP. Canadian Newspapers Limited was represented at the Trial Division by Bruce MacDougall, Q.C., and Tim Trembley of Paterson, MacDougall, and in the Court of Appeal by Trish Jackson of Torys and Tim Trembley.