May 29, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT
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.
- Subban: Contract in arbitrator’s hands now 14
- Flyers’ Mason broke his right pinky finger playing ball hockey 23
- Lindros, LeClair and Desjardins to be inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame 64
- It’s back! PHT’s Team of the Day summer series starts tomorrow 9
- Pens sign Spaling — two years, $4.4 million 13
- Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D 32
- Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension 18
- Subban seeking $8.5 million in arbitration, versus the Habs at $5.25 million 47
- Marchand on Plekanec: ‘I hate him. I can’t stand him’ 59
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 15
- Lindros, LeClair and Desjardins to be inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame (64)
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Marchand on Plekanec: ‘I hate him. I can’t stand him’ (59)
- Poll: Is Drew Doughty the best defenseman in the world? (56)
- Subban seeking $8.5 million in arbitration, versus the Habs at $5.25 million (47)