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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  I have been a lawyer since 1985 and have been a professional on this site for 5 years.
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I have posted some (e.g. Facebook, Better Business Bureau)

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I have posted some (e.g. Facebook, Better Business Bureau) statements about a property developer that has failed to correct a deficiency in my townhouse. Those statements provide an explanation of the deficiency, but some (not all) also make statements such as "don't trust these guys, have every detailed commitment put into your contract". I have recently received a letter from their lawyer indicating they will be suing me for defamation. I think they're just trying to suppress any negative comments about them. What courses of action would you recommend?
I am sorry to hear this.Are they demanding that you remove the posts?Did you see anything that was not true?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
they asked that I remove the posts (approximately 5 of them, plus a Better Business Bureau complaint). However, it looks like they have already deleted them from the sites under their control. Also, note that one of the posts they cite is not mine (a different owner in the same townhouse complex with the same issue).
No, nothing I said was untrue (although their letter claims "untrue" - see below). However, with the factual descriptions, I did make comments such as: "don't trust them", "I only hope that owners of their new property do not experience the frustrations that several Hyde Park owners and our Strata are experiencing with Zenterra's refusals to correct deficiency", "If I were a new/prospective owner, I would be very careful and also get every little detail in writing - in your contract", and "this should give everyone insight as to how Zenterra deals with customer complaints and identified deficiencies".
The lawyers's statement in the letter: "your comments are clearly defamatory such that they, if true, would tend to diminish the reputation of Zenterra in the public perception....You have intentionally and maliciously, created defamatory and damaging implications, amongst others, that Zenterra is not to be trusted, is not trustworthy, engages in questionable business practices, breached the contract for.....We are advised by our clients that the contents of your posts, both explicitly and implicitly, are substantially untrue.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Further, in the letter: "Your malicious intent is evidenced by your posting of angry emoticon postings on several of our client's Facebook posts.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Letter from lawyer attached.

The letter is not attached. Can you please try again?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Attached again - in PDF format.

That is a serious letter written by an experienced lawyer.

They are likely going to sue you whether you take the posts down or not. They are saying they will sue for more if you leave them up.

They are not quite true in their presentation of the law. If the allegations are true then it is not defamation and you are permitted to post your allegations anywhere. As well, you are free to provide your own opinions so long as they are not mixed with lies.

In BC one cannot sue for defamation in Small Claims Court which means that you will be sued in the Court of Queen's Bench and you will need your lawyer to defend you.

In my view your best next step is to retain a lawyer now and have the lawyer write this lawyer back explaining that all you said is true and that you will be vigorously defending the lawsuit.

It may be that if the client is vacillating about suing that will stop them.

Does that help as a starting point?

Please feel free to post back with any follow-up questions you may have. If you don't have any then I hope I have earned a 5 star rating but if you don't feel that I have please don't hesitate to reply back and let me know what more I can do to assist you. Finally, please know that even after you rate me I will be here for you and you can ask follow-up questions if you think of them later on at no further charge of course.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Good. Thank you. I'll engage a lawyer here. My guess is that they're just trying to shut me up & have me stop trying to get them to remedy the deficiency. Which, of course, is simply fix the deficiency (about $800, their cost).

You can certainly sue them in Small Claims Court for the $800.

Legal Ease and other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you

Is there anything more I can help you with at this point in time?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you. I will engage a lawyer here. Can you let me know what characteristics I should look for in an appropriate lawyer in order to respond to the letter and carry through if they proceed to file (practice areas, skills, etc.)?P.S. I will be responding to the evaluation request shortly.

You need a lawyer that does general civil litigation and who has had a couple of years experience. You don't need a senior lawyer.