June 5, 2020
Candelora v Feser 2020 NSSC 177
This is a decision on damages under the Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act, S.N.S. 2017, c. 7. In an earlier judgment, Candelora v Feser, 2019 NSSC 370, the defendants were found to have cyber-bullied the plaintiff.
There was a custody, access, and child support dispute between the applicant and her former husband, the respondent Mr. Feser. In the earlier decision on the merits, the judge concluded that Mr. Feser and his wife, the respondent Ms. Dadas, had conducted a campaign of cyber-bulling against the applicant in order to intimidate her into dropping the legal proceeding. This campaign took the form of a long series of Facebook postings. An application was granted, under the Act, prohibiting the respondents from further cyber-bullying, ordering them to take down the posts or otherwise disable access to them, and prohibiting them from communicating with the applicant.
The Act includes a civil damages remedy. Justice Arnold states:
I conclude that cyber-bullying should be treated as a tort. As to what damages should follow, the proper starting point is to compare the relevant conduct to similar cases involving related torts. I am not persuaded that the lack of precedents under this specific statutory remedy prevents the court from considering cases dealing with similar behaviour under other civil claims, such as defamation.
Following a review of the relevant case law, Arnold J. awarded general, aggravated and punitive damages.