In Seyedalikhani v Mansouri, 2023 BCSC 1902, Joe Ensom obtained an early win for the defendants by successfully applying to strike the notice of civil claim, resulting in the dismissal of the claim and an award of special costs against the plaintiff.
By way of background, both the plaintiff and the defendant Mansouri were professional immigration consultants regulated by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (“ICCRC”). The defendant Mansouri made a professional misconduct complaint about the plaintiff to the ICCRC and the defendant Mohammadi was a witness to the conduct at issue in that proceeding.
In the Notice of Civil Claim the plaintiff alleged that the defendants had defamed him based on statements made within the context of the ICCRC complaint and resulting investigation. He further alleged that the defendants, including the corporate defendant, were liable in negligence.
The defendants applied pursuant to Rule 9-5 to strike and dismiss the plaintiff’s claim as disclosing no reasonable claim, primarily on the basis that the ICCRC was a quasi-judicial body and the defendants’ statements were made on occasions of absolute privilege, which is a defense to all claims.
In granting the application Mr. Justice Giaschi considered and clarified the test for when a tribunal or body is sufficiently quasi-judicial to attract the protection of absolute privilege before holding that the ICCRC met that test. He further held that the negligence claim and the claim against the corporate defendants were “woefully deficient”, and that the claim could not be saved by a proposed amendment.
Finally, Mr. Justice Giaschi accepted the defendants’ submission that special costs were warranted for two reasons: (1) it was plain and obvious from the outset that the claim was bound to fail; and (2) the plaintiff had an improper purpose and motive in commencing and continuing the action, namely to intimidate the defendants and dissuade them from cooperating with the ICCRC disciplinary proceedings.
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