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Mom Makes Website, Gets Sued for $2 Million

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished dept.

News 842

An anonymous reader writes "A Canadian stay-at-home mom of 3 recently created a website to report on environmental problems around her neighborhood. The general public and governmental workers lauded her for her efforts. The environmental Ministry spokesman was even quoted as saying 'Obviously we can't have staff everywhere all the time, so we depend on the public out there as surrogate eyes and ears for the ministry'. However, not everyone was quite as happy, as she soon found out, when one company decided to sue her for libel to the tune of $2 million."

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first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021789)

i am the first post king, my uid is n/a

ahahahahahahahahah jew

I thought... (5, Insightful)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021792)

"The truth" was a solid defense against libel claims?

But she has to prove it, and they've got the bigger pocket books...

Re:I thought... (2)

Rayaru (898516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021853)

Actually, they have to prove what she said was false. We'll see if their argument holds up in front of a judge.

Re:I thought... (5, Informative)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021862)

Actually, they have to prove that what she was was not only false, but that she knew it was false.

Re:I thought... (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021925)

Actually, I thought that was only the case in the U.S., and that Canada has much looser libel laws.

Re:I thought... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021981)

no, no, no, Canada has much looser women - libel laws are just as strict.

Re:I thought... (5, Informative)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021941)

Actually, under Canadian law, to pursue a defense of Justification against a Libel suit, the defendant must prove that their words were true. Quote:

Justification
If a person publishes a statement which lowers the reputation of another, the law presumes the falsity of the statement and the defendant then has the burden of proving the truth of the statement. If it is the truth anyone is free to say it. However, if the plaintiff consents to the statement being made, he/she cannot later argue they have been defamed. Actionable defamation only consists in a false statement impairing ones reputation.


From here, about half way down, under "Canada".

Re:I thought... (4, Informative)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021951)

From here [crimes-of-persuasion.com] , rather.

Re:I thought... (0)

teh*fink (618609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021963)

Actually, they have to prove that what she was was not only false, but that she knew it was false and said it maliciously, and that they have sustained damaged by her lies (reputation, business, etc.)

Re:I thought... (4, Insightful)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021875)

I RTFA hoping to get more details, specifically what parts Activa is claiming are libelous. The article just lists examples of complaints Lanteigne has, not which ones are at issue (unless I misread). I kind of think there must be something to this, because David-vs-Goliath cases always result in significant bad press for Goliath. I just can't see this working out well for them unless they can really prove Lanteigne is full of shit.

People will bring up the RIAA suing grandmothers, and rightly so. The difference, as I see it, is that the RIAA believes - rightly or wrongly - that they're losing millions and millions of dollars to piracy. Look at it that way and it makes sense that they're willing to trade some bad press for a lessened erosion of their bottom line. Nothing in the article led me to believe that Activa was being so seriously affected by this one little site.

I guess what I'm saying is there's just enough information to make me think something else is going on here, but not enough to know what.

Re:I thought... (1)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021917)

But it could be something as simple as the person in charge at Activa being infuriated by this 'nobody' trying to expose the company. I don't know, since like you said, we don't have details. Lawsuits do sometimes come about because of purely irational persoanl feelings.

Re:I thought... (5, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021949)

Guess what, Activa? Now hundreds of thousands of people who knew nothing about this woman's website are reading what she has to say. Good move!

Re:I thought... (3, Insightful)

cheezus_es_lard (557559) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021969)

From TFA:
The statement of claim outlines stories by Lanteigne involving diesel oil spills on subdivision sites, unlocked oil tanks, roofers working without proper safety equipment and possible contamination of soil and water.

Activa claims the website has caused damage to its reputation and launched the lawsuit only after Lanteigne refused to apologize and take down the site.

--end cut--
So, it appears she is stating on the website that they have been spilling oil, etc., even possibly as a one-liner somewhere, and not documenting with photographs. If I were her, I'd find some law firm to take the case on pro-bono and spend my money getting GreenPeace out there to do soil/water testing to _prove_ that there has been oil spilled.

Voila, case won, and probably legislation started about this corporate behaviour too, so good for Mom.

I sure hope she has pictures of these spills, to start with... ;-)

Peace!
-cheez

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021793)

I guess they have silenced her!

in Canda? (5, Funny)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021794)

In the U.S. this is a no brainer, but this crap happens in canada too? I thought they were ALL enviro-hippies there.

Re:in Canda? (-1, Redundant)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021832)

this is the first time anyone has modded me up! yay!

Re:in Canda? (1, Flamebait)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021894)

No, we're the ones logging the shit out of BC and selling it to you Americans, so you can tax the shit out of us against the terms of the NAFTA. That we know about it and keep logging anyways means we can't really be such big environmentalists.

We have more natural resources and are generally more socialistic in our views, but we have greedy, evil money-grubbing companies just the same as you. Like where you have the evil lobby group the MPAA, the CMPDA lobbies here.

Re:in Canda? (0, Troll)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021959)

Yea, here the site would be down and she would be dead already.

Don't mess with a US corporation, we even goto war for them.

Good to Know... (1, Funny)

Sinryc (834433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021801)

Good to know its not only in America where you can get sued for anything. God Bless the coporations, and their willing to sue the people.

This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021811)

...Canada is in America. Shocking!

Activa stole my patented business model! (2, Funny)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021830)

1. Sue the popular hero
2. ???
3. Watch profits tumble!

They'll pay for this, or my name isn't Darl McBride!

heh (4, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021804)

Bad: Woman rights remarks about your company.

Worse: Sue said woman for more than she can ever possibly make under normal circumstances, breaking her family apart and probably separating her three kids.

They could have made it 'better' by being like "We're glad you brought this to our attention and we're going to fix it. Thanks for your vigilence!"

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021818)

> Bad: Woman rights remarks about your company.

that's right, you can't have people going around correcting things said about you!

I agree... (2, Interesting)

rolandog (834340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021838)

I've been to a handful of corporations that have radically switched from a 'Covetous' image to a more 'environmental-and-neighborhood-friendly' image. Refineries like Valero (Houston, TX) are among those.

Freedom can only be complete (0, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021808)



To an AnCap, a natural right is a limitless right. The freedom of expression is limitless, as long as the following is true:

1. You are on your own property or the public property.
2. The form of expression causes no physical damage to the physical property of others
3. The form of expression doesn't breach any contracts you are committed to.

To me, all speech is a natural right as a form of expression. Swearing, discrimination, yelling fire in your own theater, or even preaching the murder of another. If you don't like a certain form of expression, don't allow it on your property.

I don't believe in libel or slander. Words, in the long run, can damage a reputation -- but creating a quality product will always trump it. Did the fallout of criticism over DIVX make people stop shopping at Circuit City? No.

I could care less about what media companies might do with the freedom to libel. Who cares. If you're in the public eye, accept it. If you run a big business, combat it with great quality of service.

Re:Freedom can only be complete (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021882)

If you don't like a certain form of expression, don't allow it on your property.

...therefore, to silence others, acuqire their property. Landlords can silence tenants, shopping malls can evict patrons wearing political slogans the management disgrees with, etcetera.

Typical libertarian capitalist fallacy that puts property as a primary right, rather than as a secondary tool to ensure primary rights.

Re:Freedom can only be complete (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021972)

I own stores, they're my property. If I don't want a communist shirt on my property, it's my right.

If I'm a landlord and I don't like a tenant, I shouldn't be forced to accept them. It is my property.

Yes, some racist white guy may say no to a black family. What stops another landlord from saying no problem? Competition opens doors shut by others.

Re:Freedom can only be complete (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021886)

"To me, all speech is a natural right as a form of expression. Swearing, discrimination, yelling fire in your own theater, or even preaching the murder of another."

So who is responsible if you yell 'fire' in your theater and two children are trampled to death in the ensuing chaos?

Re:Freedom can only be complete (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021978)

So who is responsible if you yell 'fire' in your theater and two children are trampled to death in the ensuing chaos?

All the fools who failed to use common sense (ie. Do I smell fire? Do I see fire? Is the fire alarm going off?), panicked, and then trampled the children to death.

Re:Freedom can only be complete (4, Insightful)

Lifewish (724999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021907)

To me, all speech is a natural right as a form of expression. Swearing, discrimination, yelling fire in your own theater, or even preaching the murder of another. If you don't like a certain form of expression, don't allow it on your property.

But discrimination results in people not being able to make so much money, and thus not being able to own property, and thus not being able to reduce the acreage available for bigots to be bigoted on, and so on. Seems like that'd create an underclass, which never ends well.

I could care less about what media companies might do with the freedom to libel. Who cares. If you're in the public eye, accept it. If you run a big business, combat it with great quality of service.

But how do people find out about your excellent quality of service or great product if the people getting paid to talk loudly are all saying it sucks? The system you describe would allow any company to cover another with as much slime as they could buy, which would tend to lead to horrific monopolies - a classic market breakdown effect. Slime does have an effect, and it's not always trumped by quality of service. Besides, do you really want to produce a system in which only the biggest liars are able to survive? We're close enough to that already without adding fuel to the fire.

Re:Freedom can only be complete (4, Insightful)

general_re (8883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021964)

I don't believe in libel or slander. Words, in the long run, can damage a reputation -- but creating a quality product will always trump it.

So then, as a matter of principle, you won't be suing me when I rent a few billboards near your house and put your name, address, and photo on them, along with labeling you a known liar, thief, and pedophile. Hope you produce some seriously high-quality products, my man.

Sad state of society (2, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021813)

Fat cat rich companies. What's more to say? Even if she finds the resources to defend herself, which is unlikely in such an unfair fight, other people will be more afraid to do similar things. Truth is no defense against a rich bully and a gang of lawyers.

Remember Bush's Golden Rule: "He who has the gold makes the rules."

Actually, I first applied that to Poppy many years ago, but it goes double for Dubya.

"He who has the gold makes the rules" (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021948)

Wasn't that Jafar in Disney's Aladdin?

Good! (-1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021814)

I really detest these busy-body do-gooder stay-at-home-mom types. These are the same chicks that waste millions of dollars of public money because they were too stupid and left their child around a bucket full of water. Then they spend the rest of their lives going on Oprah and speaking in school assemblies and lobbying government to legislate tougher "bucket design" laws on corporations, because not one other human being should have to suffer their little baby being drowned in a bucket full of water. Or any other random thing that stupid parents or stupid children allow to happen (I don't even know where to start with such a list).

People like this chick have too much free time and end up making everyone else's lives difficult by trying to cover for their own stupidity by assuming everyone else is just as dumb and needs to be protected by them.

Besides, if she's a stay-at-home mom with three kids, she must have a lot of money and a wealthy husband. So why not just move somewhere nicer?

Re:Good! (0, Offtopic)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021821)

Where are the troll mods when you need them?

Do me a favor. Put me on your foe list so I won't see your crap in the future.

Re:Good! (-1, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021934)

Do me a favor and end your life. Let me guess, from your tripod site, you're one of those chubby stay at home mom types who think that she's doing society a service by breeding and sitting around the house crying woefully at the difficulties of motherhood?

This woman is not an expert. She's a nosey neighbor who thinks it's her job to play neighborhood savior. Other tham rumor, gossip and wild assumptions, what exactly does she have (and no, we don't know for sure since her fucking site is down) to show the company she's blaming for everything really is to blame?

Not every loudmouth woman in the neighborhood is Erin fucking Brokovitch. A lot of them are just whiney attention whores (munchousen syndrome-esque?) pouting on a website.

And I don't really care if you label me a troll or not. I'm not going to fucking sink to some retarded level of adulation for someone just because the big bad corporations are silencing a sweet little do-gooder breeder in Canada. Not every "victim" in a YRO Slashdot article is sympathetic.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021831)

Have you even read her website?
I just wondered how you were able to categorize her so confidently.

Re:Good! (2, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021842)

There's a big difference between being negligent and allowing your kid to play around a swimming pool or bucket and pointing out where pollution caused by corporations, et al is occuring.

The second is something that affects a lot of people who didn't cause the problem in the first place and can continue affecting people in that area for years.

Whoever moded you insightful needs to have their head checked.

Re:Good! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021988)

Since I can only go by what we've read in the article, I have to ask you "what the hell are you talking about?".

Something that affects a lot of people who didn't cause the problem in the first place and can continue affecting people in that area for years?

What something? What people? What problem? What area? What effects?

The article says NOTHING about what her complaints or accusations were. The ONLY comment in the article is the following:

She said she was constantly keeping her kids and their friends out of trouble, as they would keep running into hazards around their neighbourhood.

What neighborhood doesn't have "hazards"? What neighborhood exists where you don't have to keep your children away from some "hazards"?

I'm not going to get on my knees and praise some busy-body armchair activisit with a pack of pampers and a website, just because we're told that she's being supposedly unfairly sued by a big bad evil corporation for some vague unnamed things that she claims they did. Until then, she's just a do-goooder busy-body trying to stir up trouble so she can get a little attention. I mean, unless her kids are falling down 30 foot wells or growing an arm out of their foreheads . . . Or at least she has some medically documented evidence and solid basis for whatever claims she's making about.. whatever.

Seriously, what a bunch of sycophants that you're all reading this "your rights online" crap and assuming that she's the next Mother Theresa based on an article that says *NOTHING* more than "this breeder chick said some stuff about this company that does some business in this place where she lives and they didn't like it so are suing her".

And hell, if she's not making the shit up and is sure about the claims she's making and the company she's making them against, what does she have to worry about? Someone will pick the case up pro-bono, she'll win and she'll be able to go on a talk show circuit and parade her snotty little toddlers around on cable news. It'll be all awesome and stuff.

troll (2, Insightful)

platyduck (915764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021865)

Parent as +2 insightful?? Mod down, please.

Nice assumption about rich stay-at-home moms, but my family had five children, my mother stayed at home, and we lived below the poverty line. I think that's more typical than the rich "busy-body do-gooders". Sorry to burst your own little self-righteous bubble.

Re:troll (0, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021906)

Nice assumption about rich stay-at-home moms, but my family had five children, my mother stayed at home, and we lived below the poverty line. I think that's more typical than the rich "busy-body do-gooders". Sorry to burst your own little self-righteous bubble.

Five kids and a stay-at-home mom? Gee, I wonder why you were below the poverty line? What do you want, a medal for your mom being able to squirt out more kids than she could afford and not working to afford them?

I'm sorry to burst YOUR self-rightous bubble. I'm so god damned tired of these busy-body "I'm so holier than thou" types who think that they're the greatest gift to the planet, because they squatted out a kid or six. You've done nobody any favors by having children, becoming a parent or having more children than you can afford.

If this woman has multiple children, is able to stay at home and play on the internet all day, then she can't be all that poor. First clue? She has a computer and internet access and nothing better to do than police the neighborhood about vague "hazards" that she's pointing the finger at some company for causing.

Exactly what credentials does this woman have to be making such claims? Other than probably being a highschool or college dropout (so she could squeeze out a few kids in the last decade, of course), what qualifies her to be able to go out and lob these kind of accusations against a company?

But sure, if you want to mod my intial post down, because you have this intrinsic belief that everything a parent does is wonderful and should be rewarded, fine. I just happen to think that this chick is a busy body spouting off about things and pointing the finger at a company with questional evidence (which I can't verify, since her site is inaccessible).

This is all good (-1, Flamebait)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021815)

If she is wrong then GOOD. I hope the companny sues her blind. If the Lobel Chemical Corporation had been litigious against that Silent Spring idiot the world would have been better off.

If she is accurate then the libel suit will be dropped and the comany suing will be exposed which is GOOD.

Re:This is all good (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021850)

That's not how it works...

The woman pays her lawyer out of pocket. She very likely doesn't have the millions of dollars to spend fighting a lawsuit against a company with very deep pockets. Eventually she cannot afford her lawyer and ends up settling with the company for her silence and perhaps a statement absolving the company. Whether or not her accusations are correct have little to do with the outcome. What matters is if some lawyer, seeing her evidence, is willing to take on the case.

Re:This is all good (5, Insightful)

Sugar Moose (686011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021863)

I don't think you really undestand the way the world works, buddy.

This is not a "you have wronged us, we deserve damages" lawsuit. The company knows she couldn't ever pay $2 million. This is a "we know you can't afford to defend against our coporate lawyer onslaught, so you'll have to settle" lawsuit. If she tried to defend herself, they would ensure the attourney costs would financially ruin her. I'm sure they just want to settle out of court for her taking the site down.

Let's hear it for coporate censorship. If you say something we don't like, make sure you're willing to give up your life for it.

Re:This is all good (0, Troll)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021989)

What if she's wrong? What if she's LIBELLING this company? It happens.

That's it! (5, Funny)

Sr. Pato (900333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021816)

I'm so glad I live in Canada, we don't have to deal with this bullsh.. uh, wait.. what the.. oh crap.

Re:That's it! (-1, Troll)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021880)

As a Canadian, have you considered putting some money towards her defense? Even $20 may help her out slightly.

36-year old Mom, protecting her Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021817)

"Won't Anyone Think of the Children!?"

Her site is already slashdotted (3, Informative)

davecb (6526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021823)

http://ca.geocities.com/infringements@rogers.com [geocities.com] returns "Sorry, this site is temporarily unavailable! The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer."

--davecb

Re:Her site is already slashdotted (3, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021918)

Umm... Geocities sites get "Slashdotted" after about five visitors. ;^)

She'll be okay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021824)

Unless she lied outright and maliciously, she'll be just fine. The courts in Canada tend to favor individuals when they are pitted against large companies.

In other words, if she lied maliciously in order to defame them, then yeah, she'll be in trouble.
If she just wrote what she saw, and some of it was somewhat inaccurate, then nothing bad will come of it.

Dear Mom (-1, Troll)

Letter (634816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021826)

Dear Mom,

Bitch, now I'm pissed!

Love,
Dad

Poor summary (4, Informative)

SnprBoB86 (576143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021833)

The summary does not state the womans name, Louisette Lanteigne, nor does it link to her website (it's geocities, so this is a google Cache) [64.233.161.104] , nor does it mention the company's name, Activa Holdings Inc.

Re:Poor summary (1)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021940)

if that's all in the summary, what's left to r in tfa? .. oh yea, this is slashdot. i forgot. NO ONE reads tfa... :)

-'fester

Re:Poor summary (1)

james_moriarty (114305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021975)

Thanks SnprBoB86!

Typical STFU lawsuit (4, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021834)

If there were just misunderstanding (wrongfully interperted information), then company would have invated this lady, described problems and how they will solve that and then all problems with bad PR would go away. Of course, if they choose this course, they have something to hide - because it is typical defence nowadays - attack.

Of course, a little bit more details about which claims company thinks are false would be helpful for more concrete judgement.

Legal fee issue not quite true (4, Informative)

rborek (563153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021835)

"In Lanteigne's case, she will have to pay her lawyer regardless of the outcome."

Not quite true. Canada has a loser-pays system, so the losing party has to pay the winning party's costs, but it's usually only a portion (depending on the case - if the judge feels the actions by the plaintiff are malicious and without merit, then the losing party will receive most, if not all, of their legal fees paid by the plaintiff).

Re:Legal fee issue not quite true (2, Informative)

WestCanadaCitizen.ca (930764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021876)

IANAL, but I think that here in Canada it's up to the presiding judge's discretion as to who pays the legal fees. I think you're right that the losing party can or usually does pay a portion of the victor's bill, but I'm not certain it's an automatic rule. Having had one experience with this kind of thing, that's what my lawyer told me at the time, anyway.

Re:Legal fee issue not quite true (2, Informative)

rborek (563153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021931)

That's true - that it is up to the judge, but usually unless results are mixed or one or both parties are rich or large companies and the appeal is in the public interest (ie an appeal on a constitutional issue or an issue of law dealing with the wording of specific statutes) the losing party has to pay costs.

Thinking of setting up a website? (2, Informative)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021837)

Before anyone sets up any kind of web site, I strongly advise you to purchase an Umbrella Liabliity Insurance Policy. [iii.org] Among other things, these policies protect you from accusations of libel and slander.

While truth is an absolute defense against libel or slander, you don't want it to cost you your life savings to defend against a frivolous lawsuit because you spoke the truth someone didn't want to hear. For the cost of the umbrella policy - typically around $300 per year you can virtually stop any potential frivolous lawsuit. Such lawsuits are designed to intimidate the little guy and you're much less of a little guy when a multi-billion dollar insurance company is the one that is paying to defend you against the suit.

Re:Thinking of setting up a website? (1)

Lurk3r (786010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021887)

Before anyone sets up any kind of web site, I strongly advise you to purchase an Umbrella Liabliity Insurance Policy. Among other things, these policies protect you from accusations of libel and slander. Will this also work for copyright infringement, I.E. P2P, BITTORRENT, ECT? If so, this might be a good investment for us all.

Re:Thinking of setting up a website? (1)

WestCanadaCitizen.ca (930764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021916)

This sounds like a good idea, but does it apply to sites and businesses in Canada? Our laws are usually designed to be as incomprehensible and ineffective as possible, which makes me think that something as practical as insuring your business / site against slander would be illegal here.

Possible slolution (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021840)

Let's slashdot the website and every one will be happy.

More seriously, this is the job of the gouvernment to check this kind of stuff. When there is enough material and when they are aware of it, what are they waiting for? There is rarely, in such cases, smoke without fire.

A classic example of... (2, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021841)

A SLAPP [wikipedia.org] suit. They are illegal in the US.

Re:A classic example of... (4, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021924)

A SLAPP suit.
Obviously. The article even suggested it.
They are illegal in the US.
Did you even read the link you provided?

A more accurate statement would be that `several states have enacted legislation to provide some protection against SLAPP lawsuits'. These laws do not 1) cover the entire US, and 2) do not generally make SLAPP lawsuits illegal. Instead, they change things a little to make it easier to defend against these sorts of lawsuits.

And of course, the woman is in Canada, so US law generally doesn't apply there. (We didn't invade yet, did we?)

Re:A classic example of... (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021955)

Man. Didn't even read your own link. They're illegal in California, land of the freak, home of the bravado. What California decides to do is absolutely no indication of what's happening in the rest of the country.

Fortunately, this time it looks like other states have followed California's example, but the number of states with anti-SLAPP laws is far short of fifty.

Another libel case? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021843)

Who's the company? Is this going to be another McLibel [wikipedia.org] ?

Who are "Activa Holdings Inc", and do they have any reputation to lose?

In Soviet Russia... (4, Funny)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021846)

...Libelous statements sue... uh...

In South Korea, only old libelous... damn.

I, for one, welcome our Libelous Housewife... shit.

Uh, well, good for her. Fuck the man. Yeah.

Anyone got a link to this woman's website? I'm giving odds that theres a few crafty animated gifs on there.

That's OK. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021856)

$2 million Canadian is only like $5 in real money, anyway.

American dollar versus the Canadian dollar. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021923)

I know your joking, but it looks like the situation is changing.

Take a look at the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar over the past five years:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=CADUSD=X&t=5y [yahoo.com]

Notice that the value of the Canadian dollar has been steadily rising relative to that of the US dollar since about March, 2003. Now, I'm sure you know what began in March of 2003 (hint: invasion of Iraq). Again, look at that chart if you do not believe me.

Re:American dollar versus the Canadian dollar. (-1, Redundant)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021953)

Pardon me. "Your" should read "you're".

Re:American dollar versus the Canadian dollar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021976)

Economics 101... reckless budget deficits devalue your currency....

During the Vietnam war, the Canadian Dollar was 1.03 USD.

Is the big company a bully? (3, Interesting)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021857)

My first reaction is that the company is scum. It tries to bury the truth instead of dealing with it. But it is essential to know whether or not her claims are in fact false before questioning the validity of the suit. After all, I can't just say something bad about a company that does bad things.

Then again, you would think the firm would go out of its way to disprove her allegations. It doesn't seem to even try. At trial, the firm would likely need to show her statements as false. If she's telling the truth, I bet the firm will crumble. Rather that having all of their dirt come out in open court, they'll use a last minute excuse like "We felt bad for her kids, so we are letting her outrageous claims go... this time."

I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Eh (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021860)

It's hard to tell from the article, but there's often two sides to these stories.

Case in point: I have a neighbor. He's an old man with a bad attitude who is basically a crank. He also walks around the neighborhood look for "issues" and is a total PITA if you get on his bad side. A few years ago, my boy (who was about 3-4 years old at the time) was obssessed with hoses, drains and pipes. He LOVED to put together sprinkler systems using PVC in my back yard. Of course, I encouraged him in his hobby, even though my water bill wasn't exactly pleasant news.

Well, the water running down the street just drove my neighbor insane. He tried to convince the neighborhood that the water was going to degrade the street. When that didn't work, he actually reported me to the Environmental Protection Agency (who sent out a very nice woman, who was very impressed with my son's sprinkler systems when I happily showed her around).

And I wasn't the only one -- at various times, he has had run-ins with the neighbors over phantom problems. The guy lives to find issues that don't exist.

So you'll pardon me if I don't necessarily believe this woman isn't a total wack-job without more evidence beyond this article.

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021920)

So you'll pardon me if I don't necessarily believe this woman isn't a total wack-job without more evidence beyond this article.
Dear Kettle, you look a little tarnished. Yours sincerely, Pot.

Re:Eh (5, Insightful)

WestCanadaCitizen.ca (930764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021950)

You're absolutely right that not everyone who cries environmental foul is right, or even legitimate. But when this woman received letters from Environment Canada (like the EPA) about her efforts, this lends a bit of credibility to her claims. Also, the fact that this development company didn't post a rebuttal that disproved her claims but rather filed a lawsuit intending to shut her up and shut her site down makes me think she was on to something.

McLibel revisited? (2, Informative)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021861)

Time to look up the McLibel case in which two British activists were sued by McDonalds, following allegations of dubious corporate practices. The company incurred vast legal fees, were awarded derisory damages for the part of the comment on them shown to be libellous, and a telling-off from the judge, and the European Court has handed down criticism of the British Government for not providing the defendants with legal aid (summary here [guardian.co.uk] ). The defendants are still about and campaigning, and I suspect would be only too happy to provide help and advice.

Of course, if these developers had nothing to worry about, they would have doubtless been able to convince everybody of the truth of their case without recourse to litigation.
Any environmental scientists in Canada with soil sampling equipment who might be prepared to volunteer to go and do some soil analysis to help the defence prepare its case?

Re:McLibel revisited? (1)

whoniverse (880278) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021980)

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. The McLibel case was very bad for McDonalds, and by sueing, the company risks a huge PR disaster which would not have happened if they had let things be. Oh, and for more on mclibel check out the McSpotlight [mcspotlight.org] site.

Makes me mad... (2, Insightful)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021867)

I will NEVER buy anything related to Activa Holdings Inc. If that is how they behave when someone challenges them, then I will not support their company or any company that works with them. Since I'm in the market for a house, I will make sure that my future house was not built or supported by any company related to Activa Holdings Inc.. If they feel they have been wronged by what was posted on the website, maybe they should show how it is wrong. By sueing, its saying to me that they have something to hide. I hope there will be a way to give and support the fight against Activa. Companies that sue like this, are not companies that we need.

Her webpage is here: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021869)

Her Webpage [72.14.207.104]

Since she's on geocities and this trounced her bandwidth, I linked the Google cache. Cheers.

Found the site! (2, Informative)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021883)

This is supposedly the URL:
http://ca.geocities.com/infringements@rogers.com [geocities.com]

of course, its exceeded its transfer alloted for the day, so its down.

Typical. It IS cached by google, though.

Found some info here:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get _topic&f=5&t=001759 [rabble.ca]

Theres some info with contact information for the woman and the company.

The plaintiffs are intense morons (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021890)

Suing people with limited means for their free expression is, I believe, the way of getting every pro-bono civil liberties lawyer in the country on their case.

When Soderberg finishes the true-to-life movie [imdb.com] , they'll probably sue him for the grosses.

Wholly Woman Power Batman! (0, Troll)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021891)

It has seemed to me, that over the past little while, that women are the only ones that seem to have enough backbones to stand up to the big corps. And typically its even the stay at home moms that are sterotypically not supposed to have such big Kahunas.

It also seems to me that the men are playing the part of the big a**hole. You can read that as the ones who do the sueing in the first place.

So, I just have to say, GO MOMS!!! Fight for our rights! We especially thank you since you are the only ones that seem to be doing it.

Maybe you'll shame some others to do the same thing as well.

Im just glad... (1)

Toloran (858954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021897)

... these cases don't happen in america... oh wait. RIAA... crap.

FTA - Might be the other way around... (1)

xerid (235598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021901)

While Lanteigne may not have $2 million to pay Activa, she does have a lot to lose and could be forced into bankruptcy.

Murdoch said Activa realizes it's risking negative PR but the company thinks the lawsuit is the only way to defend its reputation.
umm... you just gained negative PR, and it just might be Activa that is going to be filing bankruptcy. Fucking idiots.

Haven't we been over this already? (5, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021902)

Here are the rules:
1) Money is all that matters.
2) If you are not a millionaire, you are a second class citizen
3) You are not allowed to buy from a small company if there is a bigger one available
4) If something a company sells you is crap, well, too bad.
5) If you buy something from a company, they own you
6) Speaking against anyone or anything richer than you is illegal.
7) It is the government of the companies, by the companies, for the companies.
8) Anyone who doesn't go to the Commerce School deserves to be screwed over

Let's see, we're all guilty of...well, pretty much everything.

Lowest common denominator gutter journalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14021910)

Where are the facts in this piece of "news that matters"?

Did her website make libelous statements?

What we have is her gender and the number of her children. The relevance of which is ...what? Should those details affect libel laws? If a single guy with no children were sued for libel would this be /. front page news?

question for amateur lawers (or real ones if any) (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021919)

If someone gets sued for 2 million bucks that doesnt have 2 million bucks, what happens? Do they lose everything and declare bankrupcy? Do they keep losing what they earn until 2 million?

She has a lot to lose (4, Interesting)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021933)

I'd like to think she is telling the truth, but I've known many types that will complain about anything. However, I've been around enough construction sites to know that the professionalism can be very sloppy and can induce the sort of incidents she described. This happens everyday.

Now, the problem I have is that even if she drops the website and the company continues to pursue the lawsuit, she has so much to lose. She's risking the well-being of her three kids to battle a libel case, one which she (presumably) has no funds to support. I'm not suggesting its wrong to take a stand, but I know first-hand what it is like to battle a corporation when you are being sued. My best friend was sued $150,000 by a company (he had an accidental fire in the house he was renting) and lost everything. The company never got a dime from him, but he was forced into bankruptcy, fell behind on all his bills, and to this day is still being tracked by companies trying to collect for unpaid bills. He lost to the one with financial superiority, and this really threw his life off course -- all over an accidental fire. Now he can't get a mortgage, credit cards, or much else.

If I was in this woman's position, I'd value the well-being of my kids over battling a corporation, because odds are she will not walk away from this in a better position than she was before this lawsuit started.

That site was pr0n for the builder's attorneys (5, Funny)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021935)

... MILS ... Mothers I'd Like to Sue ...

One word: Countersuit (2, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021967)

If I were here, I'd not only refuse to settle, I'd file a countersuit.

If their actions have placed her kids at risk and (been part of what) led her to spend the expense and time of putting up the website to document their illegal actions, that should be just cause for a countersuit against them.

Sue them for direct costs, her time (at a consulting rate of $60/hour), and punitive damages of $2Million. If they have said anything public about the suit (like claiming that she lied), then she can also countersue for libel. (In Canada, You can't sue for statements made in court or court documents, but you can sue for what's said on the courtroom steps before or after you file [umontreal.ca] .)

Great! (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021971)

What is this company hope to obtain in order of the suit, a pair of used baby bottles and a couple of hand me down t-shirts?

God must be blessing America, or maybe the people do that?

How is this news worthy? The company in question should be shamed.

Company should be fined (1)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021983)

2 million $ if it's as clear cut as it seems to be and they lose this case eventually ... if companies can get away with this sort of thing it wont stop, if there's a financial deterrence then they'd stop doing it unless there was a real case.

standards violations (-1, Offtopic)

veg_all (22581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021984)

I don't see how this woman can be spouting off about violations of building standards when she has a website that still uses tables for layout. EVERYBODY know that content should be separated from presentation; I mean come on, it's 2006 almost! I've got half a mind to put up a website reporting her to the W3c, I tell you.

utton (1)

ernst_mulder (166761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14021990)

Why is there no PayPall donate button on her site?
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