When last we saw Patrick Ross, the Wonder Mullet and U of A frat boi, his months-long campaign of virulent smear and defamation had finally culminated in his pulling out of his pock-marked, doughy ass an accusation that I was a pedophile. It was at that point that patience was no longer an option, whereupon I hired a lawyer and, in early February of 2010, I served Patrick Ross with the standard Notice of Libel. And herein lies the first of many lessons to mouthy, preening, self-absorbed, retarded wingnuts everywhere.
I did not, as wingnuts are wont to do, threaten to sue. I did not howl publicly, nor brag, nor bluster. I served. That’s because, unlike the vast majority of Canada’s dull-witted wankers, I actually took the time to figure out what the word “defamation” means — unlike the aforementioned wanks, who have an annoying habit of screeching idiocy like, “You called me a ‘yappy douchenozzle’! I’m suing!!!!!”
I did not do that; I did the grown-up thing in hiring an actual lawyer and paying him to draft said Notice of Libel which clearly described my grievance in detail, and demanding a public apology, whereupon said Notice of Libel was correctly and properly served on one U of Alberta undergrad and frat boi Patrick Ross in Edmonton. And this is where the entertainment truly began, because there’s nothing that spells “recipe for disaster” like a pompous, pretentious, beer-swilling, WWE-obsessed, twenty-something undergrad that decides he doesn’t need his own lawyer because he’s super-duper Inspector Gadget smart and has the Intertoobz and, besides, he’s seen every episode of “Law and Order” since the beginning so there.
That’s right — having been served with a real Notice of Libel, Patrick “Mullet the Wonder Doofus” Ross decided he didn’t need a lawyer. The mind reels. But it just gets funnier (as you knew it would).
At this point, most sane human beings would take a look at the unpleasant legal document that’s just been placed in their hands by a very serious process server, and would probably think, “Uh oh … this is not good and maybe I’ve taken this a bit too far and maybe I better walk it back.” Most sane human beings would do that.
Patrick Ross is, by all accounts, not a sane human being.
Patrick’s first response to said Notice was to (and I am not making this up) threaten my lawyer. You read that correctly — Patrick Ross concluded that, having been served, his first course of action was to screech and howl at the lawyer whose only offense was to do what I had hired him to do. This is what comes of deciding you’re too clever to need a lawyer. And then it got stupider. (By the way, the phrase “and then it got stupider” will come up on a regular basis so you might want to get used to it.)
Patrick Ross next decided that the proper course of action would be to demean the Notice publicly, whereupon he made the nad-grindingly inane decision to brag to anyone who would listen how this was just awesome and he couldn’t wait to take me on in a courtroom and personally cross-examine me on the stand and expose my perfidy to the world. Oh, and he actually made the promise that he would “make [my] big, bad lawyer cry.” Yes, Patrick Ross smirked in public that he was looking forward to the eventual legal smackdown.
And then it got stupider.
On top of all of the above, Patrick Ross then publicly bragged in someone else’s comments section that he had shown the Notice of Libel to a lawyer (apparently not one that he had hired), and that that lawyer had “laughed” at it.
Pause with me for a minute and let’s think about that last claim.
If you’re served with a Notice of Libel for calling someone a pedophile, because you’ve actually accused someone of being a pedophile, and you take that Notice to a lawyer, there are a number of possible responses. If there’s a case, the lawyer should advise you of that. If there’s not much of a case, the lawyer should advise you of that as well. What the lawyer probably shouldn’t do is laugh at the Notice. That sort of behaviour is what we’d normally call really, really fucking stupid legal advice. But it’s what Patrick Ross claims happened.
It’s hard to believe that any lawyer would give that kind of counsel, but it’s the story Patrick Ross was now telling, and it’s apparently what inspired him to behave like what I began to call “The Dumbest Defendant in the History of Defendantdom.” But I tarry. Onward.
Having responded to the February 2010 Notice of Libel with nothing but scorn, mockery, derision and intimidation (and more than a smattering of illiteracy and bad grammar), Patrick Ross left me with very little choice, at which point I instructed my lawyer to do the obvious thing and in April of 2010, Patrick Ross was served with a Statement of Claim listing his offenses and what I was suing for.
(Aside: Based on advice from my incomparably professional and diligent lawyer and to speed things up, I chose to sue under the Simplified Procedure in Rule 76 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. As it was explained to me, while this limited my claim of damages to $100,000, it typically got through the legal system way faster. Ergo, I made it so.)
At this point, a quick legal lesson, for which you'll thank me later. The first two pages of the Statement of Claim (henceforth “SoC”) spelled out painfully clearly what this was about and what would happen if Patrick Ross didn’t take it seriously, and I quote (final emphasis added):
TO THE DEFENDANT:
A LEGAL PROCEEDING HAS BEEN COMMENCED AGAINST YOU by the plaintiff. The claim made against you is set out in the following pages.
IF YOU WISH TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING, you or an Ontario lawyer acting for you must prepare a Statement of Defence in Form 18A prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure, serve it on the plaintiff’s lawyer or, where the plaintiff does not have a lawyer, serve it on the plaintiff, and file it, with proof of service, in this Court Office, WITHIN TWENTY DAYS after this Statement of Claim is served on you, if you are served in Ontario.
If you are served in another Province or territory of Canada or in the United States of America, the period for serving and filing your Statement of Defence is forty days. If you are served outside Canada and the United States of America, the period is sixty days.
Instead of serving and filing a Statement of Defence, you may serve and file a Notice of Intent to Defend in Form 18B prescribed by the Rules of Civil Procedure. This will entitle you to ten more days within which to serve and file your Statement of Defence.
IF YOU FAIL TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING, JUDGMENT MAY BE GIVEN AGAINST YOU IN YOUR ABSENCE AND WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE TO YOU. IF YOU WISH TO DEFEND THIS PROCEEDING BUT ARE UNABLE TO PAY LEGAL FEES, LEGAL AID MAY BE AVAILABLE TO YOU BY CONTACTING A LOCAL LEGAL AID OFFICE.
Now let’s make sure you understand what’s happening there. In a nutshell, having been served in a different province, Patrick Ross now had a hard legal deadline of 40 days to respond and file a defense; otherwise, he risked being placed in default. And what “default” means is simply that he will no longer be allowed to participate in the ongoing legal proceedings, and we’ll be moving on without him.
(Let me explain that again because it’s important. Despite what astonishingly stupid and ill-informed commenters might try to tell you, having Patrick Ross placed in default in no way means I automatically win my case. I still have to make a case, I have to present it properly before a judge, and that judge will still absolutely rule on its merits. The only difference is that I will present my side unopposed. But I still have to present my side, and the judge will still have to rule. We will be returning to this critically important point for the sake of monumentally retarded people everywhere. But ... onward.)
Having served defendant Patrick Ross with a proper Statement of Claim, my lawyer and I sat back and waited for a proper and legal response within the mandated 40 days.
And then it got stupider.
Having yapped and bragged to everyone within earshot about how he couldn’t wait to kick my ass in court, Patrick Ross suddenly decided that discretion was the better part of jaw-dropping stupidity, and simply vanished. No response. No filing of defense. No nothing. The weeks went by. Eventually, two months went by and, being the impatient sort that I am, I was all for filing to put Patrick Ross in default.
“Patience,” counseled my inestimable lawyer, explaining that, depending on what happened down the road, it was in our best interests to be as accommodating and flexible as humanly possible. He made a convincing case — the legal system tends to look more favourably on those who play nice so, after more than two months, rather than file, my lawyer simply dropped a short e-mail to Patrick Ross, politely pointing out that he was past the 40-day deadline for filing a defense and when might we expect to see it?
And then it got stupider.
“Statement of Claim? What Statement of Claim?” That would be Patrick Ross, now professing total ignorance of a properly prepared and served Statement of Claim. To which my thoroughly professional lawyer replied that, OK, here it is again, and we’ll give you another month but we’re going to put a hard deadline on it, so you really need to get your shit together and take this seriously and we’ll be waiting.
You’ll never guess what happened next. Go ahead, guess. You’ll never guess.
That’s right. Nothing. Self-described legal whiz kid Patrick Ross, having chosen to represent himself, blew off the generous extension we’d given him and still didn’t file a defense, at which point on the day of the hard deadline we’d given him, we filed and put defendant Patrick Ross in default. Yes, the Patrick Ross who bragged for months about what sort of ass-kicking he was going to lay on me simply ... vanished.
And to tidy up Part Two, it remains only to explain that, having placed Patrick Ross in default, my lawyer applied for a court date, got one in short order, appeared, presented his case and got the $85,000 judgment referred to earlier.
And you’d think that was the end of the story. And you would be wrong. Because there will be a Part Three and, unsurprisingly, it gets stupider.
ADDENDUM -- SOME LEGAL STUFF: While I am not a lawyer, I believe I’m qualified to explain a couple things that some folks seem utterly unable to comprehend. The first involves what’s referred to as a “default judgment,” which is an unfortunate phrase since it actually involves two distinct events and processes.
Placing someone in default means nothing more than that they’ve failed to file a defense within the allotted time, at which point one is allowed to suggest they’re either too stupid or too lazy to take the legal system seriously. And placing them in default means only that they’re now not entitled to participate in further proceedings.
Placing someone in default says nothing whatsoever about the merits of the suit. It makes no judgment — it simply reflects one party’s lack of interest or effort in following the rules and doing what is required of them. Even after Patrick Ross was placed in default, my lawyer still had to file for a court date, show up and plead my case. And as you can read from the very brief summary of that case:
the judge absolutely found that I had been defamed, and maliciously at that. I was not handed that judgment out of the goodness of the Court’s heart — I won that judgment because I had been defamed. Period. Anyone who suggests otherwise is an idiot (hello, "Marky Mark"). But we’re not done here.
Let’s talk about “malice,” shall we? Because you’ll notice that the judge ruled that not only had Patrick Ross defamed me, but his behaviour was “clearly malicious,” so let’s make sure you understand the significance of that qualifier.
As I understand it, if you defame someone under Canadian law, you have a number of defenses. But if the defamation was malicious, most of those defenses disappear. If it can be shown that the defamation was explicit and deliberate, and that you knew the damage you were causing, you’re pretty well screwed in terms of a defense.
And that’s where Patrick Ross was massively obliging, in that on at least one occasion, he publicly bragged about how he knew how his constant blogging about me was polluting search engines and driving search requests about me to his site where readers would read his outrageous accusations. Quite simply, Patrick Ross made the hideously unwise decision to boast about how he knew what he was doing was ruining my personal and professional reputation. Yeah, that was a monstrously stupid thing to do, and he got his peepee whacked savagely in court for that. Not one of Patrick’s finer or more intelligent moments.
And one can even argue that, given the massive dossier we submitted detailing the overwhelming defamation, even if Patrick Ross had been in court, it’s not clear what he could possibly have presented as a defense. Once you’ve bragged online about how you’ve spent months wrecking someone’s reputation, you really don’t have a lot of wiggle room to walk it back.
Coming soon — Part Three, “And then it gets stupider.”
P.S. Just FYI, Patrick Ross’ strategy to ruin my reputation was to use my full name, the same way, over and over and over, repeatedly, to absolutely saturate online search engines and drive search requests to his site.
You might have noticed that I’m using his full name fairly frequently in these blog posts. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
BONUS HILARITY: I would be remiss in not pointing out that, less than a week before my lawyer appeared in court to plead my case, this happened. That’s right — when my lawyer appeared in that Ontario Superior Court of Justice courtroom, he had in his hand a precedent less than a week old from that same court, recognizing the significance of online defamation.
Which inspires me to write something you won’t read very often: Thank you, Ezra Levant.
WICKED COOL ADDENDUM: Anyone who wants a schooling in Canadian defamation law is encouraged to read that Vigna decision. In particular, paragraph  describes what must be true to claim a defence of “fair comment.” Amusingly, the very next paragraph reads:
Proof of actual malice will defeat the defence of fair comment.
Yeah, that’s kind of why, in my case, the judge’s finding that Patrick Ross acted with obvious malice really screws him every possible way.
Movin' on to Part 3. The things I do for you people.