Kevin Fleming

Kevin Fleming Review

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Published: 02 June 2018

Posted by: Anonymously

On December 15, 2014, the Supreme Court of British Columbia allowed legal notice to be served by private messages on online forums and sent via email to 26 anonymous individuals advising them that they are being sued in the Kevin Fleming defamation case. Fleming, who filed a defamation lawsuit seeking damages on November 4, 2014, says in the lawsuit that online comments that imply he was acting in fraudulent manner and unethical are untrue. Fleming does not know who the John Doe Defendants are or where they are located, and there is no cost-effective means of discovering this information. The only readily apparent means of finding out would be to seek production orders against the various Internet service providers. Even if such orders were granted and obeyed, they would only yield e-mail addresses, service on which would essentially be no different than that under the proposed order. A court permits alternative (“substituted”) forms of legal service when the usual method of hiring a detective or a process server is “impracticable” or when a defendant is evading service. With the success of the recent motion, defendants such as “Seaside Mariana Investors Union”, “Isla Mariana Investors Union” and “NicaHeat” will be forced into a tricky choice between fighting the lawsuit, and thus exposing themselves to a verdict, or laying low and allowing a default judgment to be entered against them, thus exposing themselves to the risk of being identified and penalized later without any chance of a defense. Under most circumstances, when a person does not file a statement of defense within a given time, the suing party is entitled to a default judgment, which can result in the collecting of compensation from the defendants. Fleming believes being able to serve legal notice over the Internet is a way for the law to catch up to social media and the judgment means he does not have to serve the defendants in person. This is not unprecedented; there are other cases of hard-to-identify people being notified through Facebook and Twitter that they have been sued. According to Fleming, "it is important that this defamation lawsuit is seen to the end where judgment is granted in order that individuals would not have to endure these types of hate-filled campaigns, personal attacks and vicious lies."

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