Cahuzac v. Wisniowski

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On February 18, 2010 the Halifax Herald Limited received electronic notice that an unnamed party ("A.A.") was seeking a confidentiality order in respect of an action filed as A.A. v Z.Z. and Z.Z. Incorporated. It was later revealed that A.A. was a plaintiff in an action against her former family doctor Z.Z. The Halifax Herald exercised its right to attend and make submissions at the hearing to decide on the order.

The Plaintiff argued that publication of her name in relation to the case would cause her and her daughter embarrassment and emotional distress.

... she is seeking a confidentiality order to protect her daughter from public scrutiny and embarrassment, and also to avoid not only embarrassment to herself, but to help her move forward. She fears the repercussions of further publicity and once again suffering from depression, while worrying about the security of her employment.

In support of this she provided an affidavit of Margaret Jane H. Bayer, Ph.D.(a therapist in the Outpatient Mental Health Services Department of the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.) Dr. Bayer opined that publishing the Plaintiff's identity would cause her health to suffer greatly, increasing her depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

The Honourable Justice C. Richard Coughlan accepted this affidavit but found that it was not sufficient to justify an order for a publication ban. Perhaps of prime importance, the Court noted that the most embarrassing facts leading to the action had all been previously published.

[17] The evidence does not demonstrate Corrine Cahuzac has satisfied the test for a publication ban. The evidence before me shows the proceeding brought by Mr. Baerken and the relationship between Corrine Cahuzac and Leo Wisniowski have already been the subject of media reports and, consequently, are know publicly.

Furthermore, the Court discounted the weight of the medical opinion that publication would cause a health risk. Justice Coughlan took notice of the fact that publicity often causes embarrassment.

[18] The affidavit of Dr. Bayer sets out her opinion the publication of Corrine Cahuzac’s identity would have a significant impact on Corrine Cahuzac’s mental health, but no basis for the opinion is set out in the affidavit. Of course, publicity of the action will cause embarrassment and emotional stress.
[19] I am not satisfied the order sought is necessary to prevent a serious risk to the proper administration of justice or that the salutary effects of a confidentiality order outweigh the deleterious effects on the rights and interests of the parties and public to an open court.
[20] I dismiss the motion.


Cahuzac v. Wisniowski, 2010 NSSC 258

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