April 30, 2014
The Court of Appeal today affirmed a trial court judgment that dismissed the claims in defamation by Dr. Caroline Wang against the British Columbia Medical Association (now “Doctors of BC”) and some of its former directors and officers.
In upholding the trial court’s decision, the Court of Appeal held that a communication alleged to be defamatory was made on an “occasion of qualified privilege”. Madam Justice Newbury, writing for the Court, noted that where there is an existing relationship, as between an organization’s board of directors and its membership, there is a need for “free and frank communications” in both directions. Here, the Board of the BCMA had an interest in keeping its members informed and the membership had an interest in being informed of matters relating to the governance of the organization.
Howard Shapray and Brad Cramer successfully represented the BCMA and the other defendants both at trial and before the Court of Appeal.
For more information, see the court’s judgment at http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/14/01/2014BCCA0162.htm