MédiaQMI inc c M.K. 2019 QCCA 814

Note

The QCCA upheld the Quebec Superior Court judgment, dismissing the appeal of the Journal de Montréal to have a sealing order lifted.

Decision Summary

This case is controversial and deals with a situation where the appellant MediaQMI inc. (i.e. Le Journal de Montréal) filed a motion to lift a sealing order and to access and publish court’s exhibits and procedures in the context of a civil lawsuit filed by a public hospital against a former director.

The plaintiff made a claim against the defendant in the amount of roughly $ 500,000 for fraud and misappropriation of resources and materials during the course of his employment, and also, through a Norwich Order, seized defendant’s banking accounts. In support of its statement of claim (which also included the Norwich request), the plaintiff filed an expert report detailing and substantiating the defendant’s alleged fraudulent operations. After being served with the media’s motion to lift the sealing order and to access the exhibits and procedures, and only a few days prior to the hearing, the plaintiff filed a notice of discontinuance and a motion to withdraw its exhibits from the court’s record. The defendant also subsequently filed a motion to withdraw the statement of claim from the Court’s record.

The Superior Court dismissed the defendant’s motion, granted the media’s motion in part, allowed access and publication of the statement of claim and all other court proceedings, but dismissed the media’s request to access and publish the exhibits, without applying the Dagenais-Mentuck case. The essence of the ruling revolves around the effect of the notice of discontinuance, which in the judge’s view, simply puts an end to the parties’ dispute and places the documents in a private and confidential sphere, and as such, said documents are no longer part of an active court proceeding.

The majority of the Court Appeal emphasized the effect of the discontinuance, but further pushed the discussion on the issue of jurisdiction and the additional question of whether there is still a “live issue” following the discontinuance.


References

MédiaQMI inc c M.K. 2019 QCCA 814

Last modified on 28 August 2019, at 15:43