Canadian Defamation Judgment Declared Unenforceable under the U.S. SPEECH Act

While only a stipulated (i.e. consent) judgment with no precedential value, the recent decision of the U.S. District Court (Fla. N.D. Tallahassee Div.) In et al. v. Mina Mar Group Inc. (Case No.: 4:11cv9-RH/WS) appears to be the first declaratory judgment issued under the SPEECH Act. (my previous post at Inforrm’s Blog is available here.

Mina Mar’s Affirmative Defenses (subsequently withdrawn) were as follows:

1. Plaintiffs are estopped from recovering by virtue of a negotiated resolution of the Canadian case.
2. Plaintiff has waived any right to such a declaration by virtue of a negotiated
resolution of the Canadian case.
3. The defense of accord and satisfaction applies to the claims of the Plaintiffs, given the negotiated resolution of the Canadian case.
4. The Canadian case has been settled by a negotiated resolution.”

The stipulated judgment reads in part:

“19. The parties acknowledge, and the Court finds, that Canadian law does not provide as much protection of speech as the First Amendment, federal law, and Florida law.”

“20. Nor does Canadian law provide the protections for freedom of on-line speech provided by the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230.”

“22. The Court hereby declares that the Foreign Defamation Judgment in the matter of Mina Mar Group, Inc., et al. v., et al., Court File No. CV-08-364413-0000, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, is not enforceable in the United States pursuant to the SPEECH Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 4101-4105, and any orders entered in connection therewith are invalid and unenforceable in the United States.”

A pdf copy of the stipulated judgment is available here.

The contempt motion brought by Mina Mar against for breach of Mr. Justice Perell’s order has been converted to a trial and is scheduled for November 7, 2011. A copy of the contempt motion is available here.

H/T Hector MacMahan

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4 Responses to “Canadian Defamation Judgment Declared Unenforceable under the U.S. SPEECH Act”

  1. Ted Folkman Says:

    Really interesting case, and really interesting culture clash! From the American perspective, this case would seem to be the kind of case the SPEECH Act was meant to remedy. The Canadian judgment was radically inconsistent with the First Amendment insofar as it required an apology from the American defendants and required them not to publish even truthful material about Mina Mar in the future. Yikes! My prediction: the Americans will not show up at the contempt hearing and there will be nothing Mina Mar can do to obtain relief, unless the Americans travel to Canada.

  2. Case of the Day: v. Mina Mar Group « Letters Blogatory Says:

    […] to the Trial Warrior Blog, which points out that Mina Mar has not given up. Apparently, Mina Mar is seeking to hold the US […]

  3. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    I agree that any prospective Canadian contempt order is meaningless unless the American defendants travel to Canada. The same applies to an American contempt order—either criminal or civil—which is unenforceable in Canada following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Pro Swing Inc. v. Elta Golf Inc. 2006 SCC 52 (S.C.C.).

  4. David Schneiderman: Yet Another Blow to Free Speech | Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment news Says:

    […] Paulsson’s is not a case of libel tourism, though there is no prospect of being able to enforce a judgment against the publisher in U.S. Courts. His suit, nevertheless, […]

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