Ontario Civil

Civil Procedure

No contractual duty to edit broadcast in favourable manner

Plaintiffs made business proposal on reality show “Dragon’s Den”. Plaintiffs alleged that version of proposal that was broadcast had been edited in such way as to completely misrepresent merits of business plan. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant’s conduct amounted to gross and reckless negligence, intentional misconduct, malice and bad faith. Plaintiffs brought action based on breach of contract, defamation, negligence and injurious falsehood. Defendant brought motion for summary judgment. Motion judge concluded that comprehensive release amounted to express and unambiguous release of all claims advanced in statement of claim and that there was no reason not to give effect to release. Plaintiffs appealed. Appeal dismissed. Motion judge was correct to conclude that no trial was needed to assess effect of release, as there were no material facts in dispute. Release gave defendant sole discretion to edit recording as it saw fit and to portray factual, fictional or defamatory image of plaintiffs. There was no stand-alone duty of good faith independent from terms expressed in contract. In circumstances there could be no contractual duty to edit broadcast in favourable manner. Misconduct complained of was not extraneous to contract or outside scope of release and exclusion clause but it fell squarely within terms of release. Giving effect to consent and release did not defeat objectives of agreement between parties.

MHR Board Game Design Inc. v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (Dec. 3, 2013, Ont. C.A., M. Rosenberg J.A., Paul Rouleau J.A., and G. Pardu J.A., File No. CA C57441) Decision at 229 A.C.W.S. (3d) 994 was affirmed.  235 A.C.W.S. (3d) 83.

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