Brian Burke wants to send Internet trolls to the penalty box.
The former Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager’s lawyers have filed an action in B.C. Supreme Court Friday alleging defamation against several unidentified Internet commentators who “have spread lies about Brian over the internet, following Brian’s dismissal as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
Burke, through lawyer Peter Gall of Heenan Blaikie LLP, is suing for damages and an injunction preventing the defendants “John Does #1 to #18” (identified only by their blog and comment forum user names) from posting any more defamatory statements online.
The comments in question were posted on numerous blogs and hockey forums “explaining” why Burke was fired as Leafs GM in January 2013.
The notice of civil claim says the Internet commentators were spreading lies, alleging Burke had a sexual relationship with a female sports reporter, and may be the father of her child.
Burke strongly denies all of the allegations.
“The Defamatory Statements were made with the knowledge that they were false or with a reckless disregard for their truth,” the notice of civil claim reads.
“The Defamatory Statements have been published, republished, downloaded, viewed and commented on by persons in British Columbia and Ontario and throughout Canada and the United States by various means, including through email, internet bulletin board postings, Facebook pages and Twitter messages, and have harmed the Plaintiff’s reputation in, amongst other jurisdictions, British Columbia, Ontario, and other parts of Canada and the United States.”
“In publishing the Defamatory Statements, the Defendants were motivated by actual and express malice, and had the intention of damaging the Plaintiff’s reputation.”
The usernames listed in the claim are: “NOFIXEDADDRESS”, “CAMBARKERFAN”, “LAVY16”, “MBSKIDMORE”, “TULOWD”, “LOOB”, “NAGGAH”, “MOWERMAN”, “AARONP18”, “STEVE”, “KABOOMIN8”,“THEZBRAD”, “SLOBBERFACE”, “POONERMAN”, “ISOLATEDCIRCUIT”, “KANADA KEV”, “NCOGNITO” AND “SIR PSYCHO SEXY”.