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CSU, Patrice Blais continue dueling lawsuits

by Archives March 3, 2009

Patrice Blais said he will fight a $125,000 defamation lawsuit, filed against him by the CSU.
According to the CSU’s statement of claim, filed with Quebec Superior Court, the petition to recall the union’s executive started by Blais contained “malicious and unfounded claims against the CSU.” According to the claim these statements “caused serious damage to the reputation” of the CSU among students. The claim also said the large amount a negative press resulting from the petition caused the CSU to lose event sponsorships and caused the union and its executives “a great loss of credibility in the eyes of the university administration, which had severe repercussions.”
The CSU also claims the petition was an intentional effort to bring the CSU’s reputation into “disrepute” and to undermine their legitimacy.”
Blais describes the lawsuit as a “SLAPP” or strategic lawsuit against public participation, a lawsuit filed to silence criticism.
“They want to shut up any opposition to them,” he said.
Former CSU council chair Jessica Nudo claimed in December that only around 1,300 of the petition’s over 3,600 signatures were from actual students. However in their legal claim, the CSU said the petition was signed by 3,600 students.
The CSU is asking for $100,000 in damages for loss of reputation and $25,000 in punitive damage for Blais’s “intentional and unlawful conduct.”
CSU president Keyana Kashfi declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Blais’s civil action against the CSU is also continuing. He has asked for the court to order the recall election, that he said should have been triggered by the petition. That case will be in Superior Court on March 13, while the CSU’s lawsuit against Blais will be in Superior Court on March 16.

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