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article imageEx-Leaf GM Brian Burke files defamation suit to stop online lies

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 27, 2013 in Sports
Former Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke filed a civil defamation lawsuit in a B.C. Court on Friday, seeking to stop commentators he says spread lies about him after his firing from the Leafs in January. There are 18 defendants in Burke's suit.
The suit alleges the defendants, who published online under Internet user names, defamed him by writing he had an extra-marital affair with Sportsnet reporter Hazel Mae and fathered her child. The statements are false, the suit says.
The notice of claim says that the 18 commentators “spread lies over the Internet” that are “made with the knowledge that they were false or with a reckless disregard for their truth.” Burke's lawyer, Peter Gall, noted they do not know the names of the persons who did writing as they write under pseudonyms. Two of the pseudonyms named are 'Loob' and “Mowerman."
Former GM Burke: no issue with critics
Gall told the Toronto Star that they hope to find out who is writing the defamatory stories and bring them out into the light, thereby contributing to making it harder for websites to publish false stories while hiding behind pseudonyms.
“He (Burke) has no issue with people expressing their opinions about his decisions as a general manager," Gall said in a press release. "He considers that to be part of the job. But when people make up lies about him that hurt his family and the families of others it is no longer part of the job.
“It is hard to stop the people who publish lies on the Internet," he added. "The postings are made under pseudonyms and it is expensive to take legal action to find the perpetrators. Most people are left with no alternative but to accept what happens and move on. Brian has decided that it is time to stop people who post comments on the Internet from thinking they can fabricate wild stories with impunity.”
Burke's suit is seeking damages, costs and interest from the 18.
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