Facebook has misplaced its bid to toss out a $50-million B.C. lawsuit from an alleged rip-off artist over an “imposter page” that used his identify and likeness.
Vancouver Island resident Timothy Craig Durkin filed swimsuit towards the social media big in the summertime of 2020, claiming that he had been making an attempt for months to get directors to take down the phoney account with none success.
In response, Facebook, now often known as Meta Platforms Inc., filed an utility in B.C. Supreme Court to have the declare struck as an abuse of course of.
Last week, Justice John Steeves declined to strike the file, discovering that regardless of Durkin’s checkered authorized previous, there isn’t a proof of “evasive, combative, deliberately vague or dishonest” behaviour on this case.
“I do not agree with the defendants that the claim discloses no reasonable claim, that it is unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious, that it may prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial or hearing of the proceeding, or that it is otherwise an abuse of the process of the court,” Steeves wrote in his judgment.
“The claim has its difficulties, for sure, but I am unable at this stage to conclude that it is bound to fail.”
Durkin is representing himself in court, and the choose discovered plenty of points together with his present discover of declare. Steeves stated it can’t proceed in its present type and informed Durkin to revise the declare to embody extra specifics about his allegations of negligence towards the social media firm.
Long authorized historical past in B.C. and the U.S.
Facebook had argued, partly, that Durkin’s lawsuit needs to be tossed due to “a history of deliberate and wilful non-compliance with the rules and orders of this court in the context of other litigation.”
Indeed, Durkin’s identify has surfaced within the information repeatedly in recent times as he has turn into embroiled in case after case in civil and felony courts, together with securities proceedings.
He’s significantly well-known in relation to his six-year authorized battle over possession of the famend Sooke Harbour House lodge.
In 2020, a choose sided with Frederique and Sinclair Philip, awarding them $4 million in their fight to wrest control of the lodge from Durkin and his associate Rodger Gregory.
In a scathing determination, the choose described Durkin as a “garden-variety bully” who’s “entirely unencumbered by ordinary norms of morality, integrity and decency,” noting that Durkin swore a false affidavit to get hold of an injunction preserving the Philips away from the lodge.
Unfortunately, by the point the Philips had been lastly victorious, the lodge had already been offered throughout foreclosures proceedings.
The B.C. Securities Commission has alleged that Durkin defrauded an investor of $1 million through the sale of a fake ownership interest within the lodge, and findings in that case are anticipated this fall.
Durkin additionally not too long ago misplaced his defamation lawsuit towards Victoria-based on-line publication The Capital Daily over reporter Tori Marlan’s investigative article entitled “The man who stole a hotel: How Timothy Durkin took control of Sooke Harbour House.”
The judge in that case discovered that Marlan’s work was “a high-quality piece of long-form journalism” and that permitting Durkin’s lawsuit to proceed would create a chilling impact on media investigations within the public curiosity.
South of the border, Durkin has been accused of running a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme in Alabama. He has denied any involvement or information of the rip-off.
In the Facebook case, the “imposter” account appeared to have been arrange to troll Durkin in relation to the alleged Ponzi scheme. It included a profile photograph with Durkin’s face and a canopy photograph of arms in handcuffs.
Durkin claims he and others reported the web page’s existence via an internet type for non-Facebook customers, however he obtained a message informing him there was an issue, stating that “we are working on getting it fixed as soon as possible.”
According to the lawsuit, Durkin claims he continued to get the identical response within the following months and finally despatched a letter by courier to the managing director of Facebook Canada requesting the “imposter page be torn down from the social media network.”
According to Steeves’s judgment, Durkin says the web page was taken down after a CBC article appeared about his lawsuit towards Facebook. It was energetic for 5 months in all, the choose stated.
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