Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Attempt to block publication of May issue of Toronto Life turned down by court [updated]

[This post has been updated] Toronto Life will publish its May issue as planned this week after an attempt by a feature subject to get an emergency injunction was turned down by the Ontario Superior Court on Monday. The magazine will be available to subscribers today and to single copy buyers Thursday. The story will be published in full online later this week. 
According to a release from St. Joseph Communications media group, the profile of Michael J. Elder, chair of the WorkOnce Wireless Corporation by Michael Posner, is entitled “The Charming Mr. Elder”. 
It recounts how Elder raised millions from prominent Toronto investors for the development of a tablet device called the Quillmate and is now the subject of a group action from investors seeking $12 million in damages, as well as Elder’s removal from the company as sole director.
"I'm satisfied with the outcome of yesterday's proceeding," said Ken Hunt, publisher of Toronto Life. "I'm pleased that the hard work of our editors, writers and designers will reach our readers as usual."
[Update: According to a Canadian Press story, Elder said in an affidavit filed with his notice of action in the libel suit
"I do not believe that freedom of expression should protect shoddy journalism designed to ruin my life, There are numerous people they could have approached to correct their falsehoods but they deliberately chose not to do so."
He said in court documents that the profile raises questions about who owns the patents for the project that he says is worth as much as $130 million. He says the profile suggests that he may have tried to raise money for a project that wasn't his. 
"The above statements are totally false.," according to the notice, which seeks $100 million in damages. "The words used are meant by the defendants to convey the implication that the plaintiff is a fraudster." 
Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford said in response that the facts in the story were "materially true", responsibly reported and fair comment on a matter of public interest.
Elder, she said, failed to respond properly to repeated inquiries Posner had made of him until almost 93,000 copies of the magazine had been printed and distributed. 
In arguing against the injunction, Toronto Life said it stood to lose $475,000 on the May edition if unable to publish — and potentially millions in the longer term if the brand were damaged. 
Elder has a "history of defaulting on his financial obligations" and can't be relied on to compensate the magazine for its losses if it proves successful in defending itself against him.
In denying the injunction, Justice Stephen Firestone ordered Elder to pay $17,000 in costs.]  

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