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Burke wins right to serve anonymous commenters online

May 29, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT

Brian Burke AP

Former Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke is suing 18 anonymous internet commenters who wrote online that he had an affair with, and impregnated, a sports reporter.

Now a British Columbia court has given him the ability to serve those anonymous commenters online rather than in person, according to the Toronto Star.

The Star’s Curtis Rush explains:

This is not unprecedented, legal experts say, since there are other cases of hard-to-identify people being notified through Facebook and Twitter that they have been sued.

However, it is unusual since the courts want to ensure that plaintiffs have exhausted all other means to identify the defendants and serve them in person.

Burke has been unsuccessful in finding the people behind the user names who allegedly posted the defamatory statements in January on several online message boards.

Burke had requested to serve seven of the 18 defendants in this fashion. That list includes people with aliases like “Slobberface” and “NoFixedAddress.”

“We have excluded defendants who cannot be served in this way or who we already have some other identifying information,” Burke’s lawyer, Robert Grant explained.

Based on Burke’s application, the former general manager reach out to the administrators of the applicable message boards for help in identifying the anonymous defendants, but none of the sites provided him with that information.

Below are the seven users Burke asked to serve online. He doesn’t intend to send these people notice via private message. Instead he plans to message them with a link to the actual notice of claim.


  1. 950003cups - May 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    He’s clearly losing it.

  2. c1md6 - May 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    It was Kevin Lowe

  3. silversun60 - May 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Ok so assuming they (Burke’s people) can track the link clicks included in the private messages….

    these people know they are going to be private messaged via those message boards…. what if they never click on the link or even open the message??

    The board sites have already been un-cooperative… I’m assuming they won’t let Burke know if the messages have even been opened……

    Is it just me that thinks this is absolutely ridiculous??

    • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      nope, not just you. Burke is an a-hole. this is ONLY for money. there’s no other reason than to take money from these regular hockey fans. if there’s one thing I’ve learned about rich people, they never have enough money. here’s another case.

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        really wish some of these thumbs-downers would reply and let me know which part they object to… or give me a different reason you think he’s pursuing a libel case against some internet commenters.

      • jpelle82 - May 29, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        i gave you a thumbs up…mainly because i hate greed. i dont see any other motive for suing some harmless internet trolls other than he’s just butt hurt lately.

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        agreed. to any not greedy famous person, a simple public denial would have sufficed. this guy… nooooo. this guy wants to track people down via their screen names and sue them for everything they’ll ever acquire in their lives. he’s already taken it this far…. it’s not just a scare tactic anymore. he’s out to get their money.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 29, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        While I think the suit is ridiculous and would never happen in the US, I don’t think he’s after money. I would guess he doesn’t like people slamming his personal life and wants to make sure it stops.

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        first off, I don’t think it’s strictly a Canadian issue. they haven’t made these commenters pay anything yet… at this point, it’s just pre-suit. the same thing happens in the US over sometimes stupider things.

        but my beef is why he went to a lawsuit first. he could deny, threaten a suit, and see what happens. he’s already taken it this far to actually get these commenters’ info…. he’s following through with a suit. if he doesn’t, and he was just being super-convincing to scare them, I’ll take what I’m saying back and call him a genius for making these guys poop themselves. but until that point, in my mind, he’s out to get their money.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 29, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        Why would you pay for an attorney as well as court costs to scare people? The reason you file suit is because you believe you have a case, and in this instance, the judge agrees. If you read the initial filing his first request for relief is an injunction and allowing the court to determine the amount of damages. I’m not familiar with the specifics of Canadian law so I’m assuming the Court determines the damages in civil cases.

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        all I’m saying bud is that this: “he doesn’t like people slamming his personal life and wants to make sure it stops,” could have been achieved with a few scare tactics before actually suing them. he could have done something to see if they would stop, like say THREATEN a suit before suing them. he’s being an a-hole and ruining these peoples’ lives (if Canada is as harsh in lawsuits as the US is sometimes). his life isn’t ruined, he’s fine. but he’s going to take thousands of dollars from these regular people for what? hurting his feelings? it’s bullsh** and a di** move IMO.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        How much money can he get from commenters? I think this is about egos. His ego. He’s truculent, and enjoys a good fight. I gave you a TD

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        idk man, you can get $100k+ for libel suits. times 18 people. either way, he’s a d***

      • atwatercrushesokoye - May 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        This isn’t about the money at all, in fact i would bet that whatever money he wins will be donated to a charity, this is about putting an end to people on the Internet saying what they want just because they want to. This is no different than someone bullying a classmate on Facebook this just took place on a bigger scale, and the idiots that posted false rumors are learning that they tried to bully someone with the means and willpower to defend themselves.

  4. howintensive - May 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM


    • supercoop8 - May 29, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Poonerboys and Poonergirls unite

    • comeonnowguys - May 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      If there’s one takeaway from today’s entire hockey coverage… it’s that hashtag.

  5. jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    This is what I don’t get. Is there a way to prove who actually wrote the messages? Does that matter?

    • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Canada has internet trials now. basically you (under your handle and as your avatar) appear in a virtual court (still have a stenographer for some reason…. no bailiff though) and if you lose, you have to pay in Bitcoin or post banner links for Maple Leafs merch on your blog, either way’s fine.

      • jpelle82 - May 29, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        are you being serious? wtf is Bitcoin? i know canada is weird but not that weird right?

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        lol nah. just kidding.

        bitcoin is this worthless number on your computer screen that resembles something like money…. but isn’t. look it up, it’s stupid.

        and to find out if Canada is weird, check out the South Park episode about the Canadian Royal wedding. all that is real, especially the part about royal pudding.

      • hockeyflow33 - May 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        Bitcoins are actually quite valuable, especially if you invested several months ago

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        yeah they can be… but why invest in something that you have no clue if it’s going to STAY valuable. their price is based on nothing. they don’t manufacture things, sell products, advertise to add business revenue… they’re nothing except money with an extremely volatile value. you can easily put your money on the stock market with some research, and be 10x as sure you’re not pissing it away.

  6. jpelle82 - May 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    so this is for a civil suit? he’s gonna try to sue the food right out of the mouths of some citizens? wtf. is the story true? what grounds does he have to sue them? is it slander or is it libel because it was written on a forum? can you serve someone without a receipt that the message was recieved…so many questions for so little $ he will get if any…what a collossal d***. i feel like a dunce for defending his us olympic team accomplishments

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      It’s not about money it’s about defending his name, by starting these rumors what impact did these idiots have on his personal life or that of Hazel Mae? And there’s a pretty easy solution to getting sued in a case like this…don’t post stupid rumors about people on the Internet, that’s it, you follow that one simple rule and you won’t find yourself as a defendant in a case like this.

  7. BlackandGoldMNBruinsFan - May 29, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    I don’t understand how this constitutes libel or slander….so they commented on some web page, accusing him of impregnating someone….not in a newspaper or on TV or in court or anything…just some random internet web site? That’s slander?

    Fine. I swear if one of you other followers makes a comment that I impregnated Brooklyn Decker I’m going to…..ask you for high fives, since that would be freakin’ awesome. I won’t sue you, ibieiniid, I promise.

    • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      don’t get me wrong, I think he has a case. It wasn’t an opinion piece, it was presented as fact. there was clearly malice behind the writing of that piece. that’s technically libel. I just thoroughly think he’s an a-hole for immediately jumping to a lawsuit before exhausting all, nay, any other options…. plain and simple.

      • imleftcoast - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        He doesn’t have a case b/c he hasn’t been damaged. He’s being a bully and trying to control what individuals write about him. This isn’t a newspaper harming his reputation. It’s ridiculous and the judge in that court should be sanctioned. This makes a mockery of the Canadian judicial system.

      • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        i mean, there’s probably the argument that his public image may have been damaged. there’s likely people out there that have read this rumor that haven’t heard it’s false yet. that’s “damage.” damage doesn’t always mean physically.

        I agree, he’s being a bully (see my posts above)… but legally, with the info that we have about the case, I think it’s legit libel. it doesn’t have to be in a paper to be libel. online blogs count too.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - May 29, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        He hasn’t been damaged? What about his personal life? What about his reputation? I think he’s got a pretty good case. The idiots that posted false rumors on the Internet are the bullies, they just decided to try and pick on the wrong guy.

    • hockeyflow33 - May 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Canadian speech laws are different than US laws

  8. jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    At least he has only won the right to do something stupid, not actually see his plan follow through.

  9. zetaone - May 29, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    That’s ridiculous.

    He’s far too old to have any working sperm left.

    Get at me ‘Burkie’.

  10. lostpuppysyndrome - May 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    He’s going after a guy on Seriously, Burkie, you’ll never find a more wretched hive of trolls and stupidity, not to mention it has maybe 30 members. You got played, dude.

  11. Habib Marwan - May 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    When they open up these forums , they need to take into account that people are going to pop off about stuff and 9 out of 10 times alls you can do is ban them and their IP address. , it’s not like walking up to someone you see on the street and spitting in their face , this is a joke, if they dont want incidents like this to happen then shut down all these boards, twitters and social networking sites … the only time there should ever be any type of legal issues is if someone continues to harrass someone or actually physically threatens someone else on the web…..

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      It’s pretty easy to avoid a lawsuit don’t post false rumors about people on the Internet. I fail to see much of a difference between this and the idiots who cyber bully their classmates on the Internet, think of the young lady in BC last fall, or the girl in NS this winter who killed themselves because idiots continued to post rumors about them on Facebook and to torment them. If someone wants to criticize what Burke (or any other sports figure) has done in building the Leafs or the way he acts to the media, or if someone is arrested for something stupid (ex athletes who drive drunk etc) that’s fine. But the second someone starts posting lies about his personal life, that’s wrong and it needs to stop.

  12. mp1131211 - May 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Jesus- if I had that much time to read that many sports forums, my hockey team would suck too.

  13. islesjb - May 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Brian Burke had sex with, and impregnated a giraffe #libel

    • ibieiniid - May 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      “– allegedly” #protectyourass

    • islesjb - May 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      who said that? My account was hacked! Brian Burke would never do such a thing

    • axisofweasels - May 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      i saw it myself.

      we have confirmation!!!

  14. 19to77 - May 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    This lawsuit is a gift that just keeps on giving.

  15. csilojohnson - May 29, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    This guy deserves a nomination for the biggest douche in the universe.
    Sorry John Edwards.

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