OT: Kitchener Rangers plan to sue The Michigan Daily, Matt Slovin

Submitted by Lionsfan on July 10th, 2012 at 10:15 AM

So this story came out late last night, but the Kitchener Rangers are intending to make good on their earlier threat of Legal Action. One quote that I found interesting was:

“By people out there saying whatever the hell they want, with not having to back it up and hiding behind sources, that damaged us,” said Bienkowski (Rangers Chief Operating Officer). “I don’t take it personal but it’s frustrating. You work pretty hard to build what we think is an outstanding reputation in the CHL and then you have all this sort of stuff.”

Which is complete rubbish. The reputation of the CHL isn't to be tarnished based on one student reporter, especially since this isn't the first time this issue has come up. Hearing their reasoning behind another similar case is ridiculous too.

It’s not the first time the Rangers have been accused of paying to attract players. Three years ago, Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson told The Record he heard the Rangers offered $500,000 to American rearguard Cam Fowler, who had committed to attend the school. Fowler’s family denied the allegations but the damage was done. Bienkowski said, in the wake of reports, that the defenceman cancelled meetings with the Rangers and the club was forced to put him back into the OHL draft. Windsor scooped him up and the Michigan native played one season with the Spitfires and never attended Notre Dame.

They threatened legal action against Jackson but never followed up, my guess is now they think they have an easier case. From the story, the Daily and Slovin have yet to respond

Link: http://www.guelphmercury.com/sports/article/757933--rangers-sue-michiga…

Comments

Elmer

July 10th, 2012 at 10:27 AM ^

"Daily editor-in-chief Jacob Axelrad said he couldn’t comment. When asked if he still stands by the story, which remained on the paper’s website Monday, he hung up the telephone." 

I bet that isn't a true representation of how the conversation went.  Which part of "can't comment" did the reporter not understand?

Mr Miggle

July 10th, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

What would you propose?

Probably your answer would violate the no politics rule, so I'll just point out that filing a lawsuit does not equal prevailing in court. Imo, there is a very strong chance the case never even gets heard.

BiSB

July 10th, 2012 at 11:17 AM ^

You can't stop people from FILING crazy-ass lawsuits. Defamation is a real thing, and there's no magic way to determine at the moment of filing "this is a ridiculous use of an otherwise legitimate legal theory."

Don't worry, there are plenty of mechanisms in the system to get rid of crap like this.

Butterfield

July 10th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

I totally get this. Along the same lines I have filed suit against RDT for reporting incorrect information on the recruitment of (insert 2013 recruit here).

Phil Brickma

July 10th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

The Daily has an easy case: Prove the report is true. If they have facts and proof that their report is accurate, the accuser has no argument. That being said, they never should have ran the story without legitimate proof. I certainly hope Slovin has his stuff together.

tbeindit

July 10th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

This seems a little pathetic for a large organization to be trying to take down a student paper, but I still say, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the info in the article isn't great.  I've seen some things in the Daily that left me scratching my head, especially regarding sports.

Either way, I'm sure they'll have a solid defense team

thisisme08

July 10th, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

I just hope their source is actually on record at some point and it wasnt a random phone call. 

Thing that ticks me off is Kitchener's high and mighty attitude and talking about slander when everyone knows what goes on in the CHL. 

lhglrkwg

July 10th, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

Seems like Freedom of Speech/Press might come in here somewhere. Are newspapers not allowed to be wrong about things? Especially sports things? Can ESPN be sued every time they hear that X team is thinking about trading for Y player and it doesn't happen?

What a bunch of babies up there in Kitchener. I can't imagine this will last more than 5 minutes in any court.

BiSB

July 10th, 2012 at 11:27 AM ^

BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA

/deep breath

AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

 

Unless they filed this in Canada, and Canada has radically different slander laws, this lawsuit has less than zero chance. You can't sue to say "prove it or retract it." It doesn't work that way. Kitchener has to demonstrate by a proponderance of the evidence that the Daily published this information KNOWING it was not true (or in reckless disregard for it's apparent falsehood), and did so with an intent to harm the defamed party.

It's a PR move, and a ridiculous one at that. It'll never survive an MTD.

markinmsp

July 10th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

 In US isn’t this where the malice concept comes into play with journalism? Does this exist in Canada also?  Yet if it was published in US it should follow US rules, yes? 

 Would they follow common law when it involves foreign governments? Yet, even in common law isn't a requirement that this claim be false and that this is communicated to the publication prior the defamation, which acts with malice or reckless disregard to its truth?

JimLahey

July 10th, 2012 at 11:46 AM ^

This lawsuit isn't going anywhere, Kitchener knows this. They just want to make sure they make a big public stink so that people hear them cry about it. You guys have to understand that they get away with paying players $45 a week, which is horseshit. If they admitted to giving certain guys a lot of money, there would be an uprising.

When I played, we had several discussions about trying to start some sort of union and telling the league and coaches to stop exploiting us but guys were too scared that it would ruin their careers, which it would. Your hockey career depends so much on what your coaches tell NHL scouts and GMs.

Like I said, I have no problem telling you guys that I know for a fact that there have been several under the table payments to lure Americans and that this stuff has almost blown up on several occasions but is always kept quiet. No OHL team has ever paid a player 500k. But 200k is very close to the actual figures.

This causes a lot of interal fighting in the O. Loyal superstars who make their coaches and owners millions of dollars make $45 a week for 3-4 seasons and then they turn around and pay some American (usually) a huge sum of cash for what usually amounts to one season, two at the most.

M Fanfare

July 10th, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice, but then again they also unleashed Nickelback and Justin Bieber on the unsuspecting masses.

Aged Wolverine

July 10th, 2012 at 7:01 PM ^

"Beady eyed bastards... "

 

Damn them!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I spent a week working on CMMs up around Toronto back in 98. The folks there were real cordial to me. Every night I hit this local diner for the cheaply priced steak dinner, and the owner would sit down to chat with this American as I ate.

 

Between that, and a couple of Canadiens I worked with from my companies office there, it left with with a very favorable impression of our neighbors up north.

 

 

 

Section 1

July 10th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

As I read this, there is no law suit.

What was "served" was a letter demanding a retraction.  Such letters are common in defamation claims.  They have meaning, usually, only in terms of damages later if indeed a case can be made.

So there is no law suit.  The term "served" may have a different meaning in Canada; and there may be a "proof of service" with the letter.  But it doesn't mean "served with a Summons and Complaint..."

If there were to be a lawsuit, I can only presume that it would be in the form of an action naming "The Regents of the University of Michigan," under whose charter the Daily publishes.  That cause of action would have to be filed in the Court of Claims, as it involves a state defendant.

They could file an action in Canada, I suppose, which would go nowhere unless they obtained jurisdiction over the Regents there.  (I don't think so.)

And as for all of this smart-sounding b.s. that I have just recited for you.  Means nothing, I'll bet.  I think this is all baloney and p.r. posturing by the Canadians.

Wave83

July 10th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

Are you sure UM is a "state defendant"?  I'm licensed in Ohio and California and never practiced in Michigan, but I grew up there and went to UM for undergrad and law school.  I am pretty sure that UM (and MSU and Wayne State) are not arms of the State of Michigan (unlike, e.g., Ohio State, which is a legal part of the State of Ohio).  The three big public universities in Michigan are provided for by the Michigan Constitution and its Regents/Trustees are elected directly by the people.  If there is a court of claims in Michigan in which all suits against the state must be filed, I would be surprised if claims against UM must be filed there too.

Obviously (I think), there would not be proper jurisidiction or venue in Canada for a claim arising out of an alleged libel resulting from a publication by the Daily in Ann Arbor.  Whether the Court of Claims would have exclusive jurisdiction is another matter.

Sorry to bore the non-lawyers on the board.

Section 1

July 10th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

In 2010, a former Daily staffer named Julie Amanda Rowe sued the Daily, the University and the Regents in two separate actions which, following procedural custom, were consolidated in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.  One case was Plaintiff Rowe versus the Daily and the University in WCCC.  The other companion filing was Plaintiff Rowe versus the Regents in the Court of Claims, assigned to Judge Collette in Ingham County before consolidation in Washtenaw.

That is the routine practice.

I have no comment on any of the merits of the case; the Plaintiff says she was wrongfully accused of plagiarism and essentially forced to resign from the paper.  One major preliminary legal issue is if she can maintain a case against the University and the Regents at all.  As I understand it, there is something of a Chinese wall between the Regents and the University on one side and the Daily and its staff on the other.  The Daily's website alludes to the fact that it operates financially independently of the University.  Whether the Daily has an errors and omissions insurance policy for claims of this kind is unknown to me.

Seth

July 11th, 2012 at 7:37 PM ^

Unless it has changed since I was there, the Michigan Daily is not affiliated in any way with the University of Michigan. It's an independent entity. Rather Student Publications (including the yearbook and the Gargoyle) is an independent entity.

Wave83

July 10th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

Are you sure UM is a "state defendant"?  I'm licensed in Ohio and California and never practiced in Michigan, but I grew up there and went to UM for undergrad and law school.  I am pretty sure that UM (and MSU and Wayne State) are not arms of the State of Michigan (unlike, e.g., Ohio State, which is a legal part of the State of Ohio).  The three big public universities in Michigan are provided for by the Michigan Constitution and its Regents/Trustees are elected directly by the people.  If there is a court of claims in Michigan in which all suits against the state must be filed, I would be surprised if claims against UM must be filed there too.

Obviously (I think), there would not be proper jurisidiction or venue in Canada for a claim arising out of an alleged libel resulting from a publication by the Daily in Ann Arbor.  Whether the Court of Claims would have exclusive jurisdiction is another matter.

Sorry to bore the non-lawyers on the board.

stephenrjking

July 10th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

Kitchener is taking these steps for show, obviously, and it's very easy to see why they're going further against Slovin than they did against Notre Dame: The Daily is financially independent, and therefore small and vulnerable. If they sued Jackson they would incur the financial resources of a major American University, which they couldn't compete with even if their argument wasn't specious.