Aug 29/97: Chronoloy of Daishowa vs. Friends of Lubicon


Friends of the Lubicon
Friday, August 29, 1997

The following is a brief chronology of the Daishowa v. Friends of the Lubicon court action. For those who are interested in how the courts have shut down this successful boycott campaign -- and for a taste of what's in store for Friends of the Lubicon at trial next week -- this chronology should fill in the important details.

Chronology of a SLAPP Suit

* January 12, 1995: Friends of the Lubicon are served with papers indicating that Daishowa Inc. is seeking an injunction against certain boycott activities and claiming an unspecified amount in damages. The papers call for the first hearing to start February 6, 1995.

* February 6, 1995: Friends of the Lubicon appear in court represented by Clayton Ruby and Dan Brodsky, and argue for an adjournment until April to give them time to prepare their defence. The court agrees, only on the provision that in the meantime (until the April hearing), FOL will not contact any Daishowa customers, will not picket any Daishowa customers, and will not encourage the public not to shop at stores who are customers of Daishowa. These provisions effectively give Daishowa the injunction before the case is even heard.

* April 26-28, 1995: Interim injunction hearing. Daishowa's case is a big one, and will take approximately a month to be heard fully in court. Until the court can schedule such a trial, Daishowa asks for an Interim Injunction which would stop FOL from pursuing the boycott in the meantime, arguing that they have suffered over $5 million in damages so far and shouldn't be subjected to more potential damage while waiting for trial. Madame Justice Frances Kiteley dismisses most of their claims in a decision delivered May 19, 1995. FOL are allowed to continue their activities until a full trial can decide on the future of the boycott.

* June 30, 1995: Justice Steele, author of the Temagami decision (recently described in a major Canadian newspaper as "one of the most aggressively anti-Indian judgments of the century" - grants Daishowa leave to appeal the May 19 decision.

* September 6, 1995: Finding that Daishowa has secured an appeal date for September 21, despite their lateness in filing papers, FOL's lawyers ask for an adjournment to a later date in order to have reasonable time to prepare. Justice White postpones the appeal date to October 24, but imposes conditions: between September 21 and October 24 FOL is not allowed to picket any Daishowa customers or inform them of any plans to picket, nor encourage the public not to shop at those stores - this essentially grants Daishowa their appeal before their appeal is heard.

* October 24-25, 1995: Daishowa's Appeal of the May 19 Interim Injunction decision is heard. The court reserves judgment but in the meantime it keeps in effect the prohibition on boycott activities as per Justice White's Sept. 6th court order.

* January 23, 1996: Judgement. In a 2-1 split decision, the Divisional Court gives its reasons for granting Daishowa an injunction against Friends of the Lubicon which will last until trial. They rule that the boycott becomes illegal if it is intended to harm the company. Such a decision threatens any effective boycott in Canada.

* April 26, 1996: Friends of the Lubicon are denied leave to appeal the decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal; no reasons are given.

* September 10, 1996: Finding that Daishowa has been slow to provide necessary disclosure required for preparing a defence, FOL asks for an adjournment of the scheduled trial date. The court agrees to reschedule the trial until the following September, however Daishowa asks for further conditions to be imposed.

* October 21, 1996: As a condition of adjourning the trial, Daishowa asks the Court to stop FOL, FOL's lawyers and a university professor - who is not even named in the case - from calling the lawsuit a SLAPP suit. The Court does not grant Daishowa's request.

* November 1996: Friends of the Lubicon file for leave to appeal the Divisional Court's interim injunction decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking the question "Are consumer boycotts unlawful in Canada?"

* June 13, 1997: Daishowa sends FOL's lawyers a letter threatening contempt of court proceedings against FOL member Kevin Thomas, former FOL lawyer Clayton Ruby and the national CBC television station for broadcasting a program in which Thomas refers to Daishowa as "bullies" and a CBC reporter uses a word FOL is prohibited from using. No charges are ever brought forward.

* June 19, 1997: Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear the Friends' appeal. No reasons are given.

* September 2, 1997: Full trial begins. This is where Daishowa's claims are investigated in much greater detail, and the court decides whether or not to permanently halt FOL's activities and grant an award of damages to Daishowa. The trial is expected to run almost the entire month of September.

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