Casses v Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2013 BCCA 200
From Ad IDEM / CMLA
The BC Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by a plaintiff surgeon to restrict a defamation action to narrow pleaded meanings (such as "was negligent in his treatment of Edith Backer") and has upheld a defence that pleaded different meanings and particulars of other surgical cases raising competence issues.
The court adopted the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Pizza Pizza and held that pleaded meanings arising from the same context, broadly approached, are not excluded as being "separate and distinct" meanings.
As to mitigation pleadings, the Court also applied a liberal approach, permitting pleading specific instances of wrongdoing as "relevant context" relevant to damages.
The court applied the English Burstein approach as opposed to the traditional rule against pleading specific incidents of wrongdoing in mitigation.