Law Cans Episode 1 – Douez v. Facebook (Forum Selection Clauses) with Chris Rhone

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Doez v. Facebook is a 2017 Supreme Court of Canada decision in which the Supreme Court had to determine the enforceability of a forum selection clause.  The case involved a class action lawsuit brought in British Columbia alleging that Facebook’s Sponsored Stories breached their privacy.  Facebook argued that because its Terms of Use stated that users had to litigate any claims in California that the British Columbia courts lacked jurisdiction.

Christopher Rhone is a Partner at Branch MacMaster LLP Barristers & Solicitors. He represented Ms. Doez, the plaintiff, at the Supreme Court.

0:30 – The distinction between civil and commercial litigation.

1:50 – Could Ms. Douez sue Facebook in British Columbia despite its Terms of Service specifying that people would have to litigate disputes in California?

3:30 – Why is Ms. Douez arguing that Facebook breached her privacy rights under British Columbia law? What was Facebook’s Sponsored Stories product?

9:40 – An overview of the Pompey test for determining forum selection clauses, which consists of the following two steps.  First, the party must show that a form selection clause is clear and enforceable and that it applies to the cause of action before a court. If this is the case, then second, the other party must show strong cause for why a court should not follow the forum selection clause Reasons to not can include public policy, fairness, convenience, etc.

16:00 – What impact did the size of Facebook have on the Supreme Court’s decision? What is the scope of the ruling? Should people assume that they can sue large, multinational e-technology companies in British Columbia?

23:30 – Chris discusses other times that he has argued before the Supreme Court of Canada.

26:40 – Tips and suggestions that Chris has for people who are deciding is law is for them?

31:10 – Steven and Chris discuss interesting privacy scenarios including where the Canada Border Services Agency was able to determine that someone was working without authorization by going through Google Maps history and where Canada student loan information vanished.

33:05 Steven asks Chris about tips to young lawyers who maybe love the law but who are perhaps unsure of loving the practice?

37:30 Chris describes his side practice as a SPCA litigator in cases where animal owners want to dispute the removal of their pet for violence or inadequate treatment.

Steven and Chris in this episode both mentioned that several of the lawyers that their respective firms, including Steven, are now using standing desks. Some of the models that the lawyers at Steve’s firm use include:

VIVO Height Adjustable Standing Desk Sit to Stand Gas Spring Riser Converter

ERGONEER Latest Model Adjustable Ergonomic Sit to Stand Desk Riser

Mount-It! Dual Monitor Desk Stand Mount for LCD LED Computer Displays Two Articulating Arms Clamp Desk Installation Fits up to 27 Inch Screens Heavy-Duty 44 Lb Capacity VESA 75 and 100