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Ontario couple sued for writing bad review online awarded $166,000

A couple in Ontario who were sued for writing a bad online review about a window company have been awarded more than $166,000 after a judge found they were bullied over it.

The couple purchased 14 windows and a sliding door from Woodbridge, Ontario company Canadian Thermo Windows, which operates under the name Magic Windows, but said they had issues with leaking following the installation.

They wrote three negative online reviews about the window company, in which they described their experience with Canadian Thermo Windows.

After the reviews were posted, the window company asked the couple to delete the negative reviews, but when they refused, Canadian Thermo Windows filed a defamation suit, court documents say.

“The plaintiffs brought this lawsuit to bully the defendants into removing their reviews from the Internet,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Fred Myers found in his court ruling on the case.

According to court documents, the lawyer for Canadian Thermo Windows said the company suffered a “dramatic loss of revenue in December 2020” because of the couple’s negative reviews.

“They deny that the loss of revenue was caused by the shutdown of Ontario due to the pandemic,” Myers wrote.

The couple countered Canadian Thermo Windows’ defamation suit by filing a motion under the SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) provisions.

“The intention of the anti-SLAPP motions is to provide a quick and inexpensive mechanism to end lawsuits being used to stifle public debate on a topic of public interest,” Myers wrote.

The court ordered Canadian Thermo Windows to pay $166,687 to the couple for costs and damages, and the defamation suit was tossed out.

Derek Knoke, who represented the couple said: “The legislation was intended to prevent people from using the threat of costs to scare people away.”