First, the good news:
The Motion for Summary Dismissal brought by Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue was dismissed by a judge on Friday morning (January 13). This was the case for all four causes of action: injurious falsehood and incitement to breach of contract against The Mary Sue, and injurious falsehood and breach of contract against Calgary Expo.
This case will be going forward, under all four causes of action.
The bad news:
It took a essentially full day in court to hear arguments for and against a Summary Judgment to dismiss the case, which left insufficient time in the schedule to actually hold the trial.
The judge, after having read the Statement of claim, and reviewed the various affidavits (2 submitted by defence to support their Motion, 1 submitted by Alison in response), and having glanced over the Exhibits provided by all parties, understood this would be a complex case to hear in full. As such, he deemed it appropriate to set aside three full days for the trial itself (the trial that SHOULD have happened on the trial dates January 12 and 13). The first opening for a three-day trial is November 28, 29 and 30.
We certainly could have started the trial on the 13th, if we'd chosen to. If we had, we'd be stuck with this judge, and the next two consecutive days he had free were in December. It would have been worth it, for sure, if we were able to have the witnesses we'd flown in from Illinois, Ohio, California and the UK testify that day. However, because Alison is the plaintiff and has the right to be in the courtroom during all testimony, it's highly problematic to have her listen to her witnesses give evidence prior to giving her own.
Alison must be the first to take the stand if we want her testimony to be seen as untainted. Direct and cross examination (then redirect and response) of Alison may take a full day, perhaps longer. And possibly splitting up her testimony between January 13th and December 12th wasn't going to do us any good. At best it's a neutral, at worst, it will weaken the impact of her evidence. However things fell out, the trial wasn't going to be finished on January 13th.
So we opted to adjourn proceedings until November 28th, at which point the case will be heard by a different judge, on three consecutive days.
A new date of August 1 (if I recall correctly) has been set as a final deadline for exchange of documents (such as submitting affidavits, entering evidentiary exhibits, etc). We expect counsel for Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue will attempt to dig through every word any of us has published online to potentially use as evidence that we are, indeed, space lepers who deserved to be expelled from the Expo.
They also attempted to prejudice the court by requesting a publication ban on the contact information of the defendants and their witnesses by citing a risk of harassment of said individuals by HBB and fellow space lepers #GamerGate and AVoiceforMen.
Our legal dynamo, Harry Kopyto, objected to any such ban, arguing that people's names, addresses and phone numbers are a matter of public record and publication bans should be ordered with extreme caution. The judge agreed with Harry, telling defence counsel that they had not demonstrated any such risk exists. To my mind, this is significant, since the Mary Sue had alleged harassment by Alison at the panel discussion in their article and their affidavit, the affidavit filed in support of Calgary Expo repeated that allegation, and #GamerGate was described in both defence affidavits as being "notorious for harassing". Essentially, the judge said, "well, you keep telling me about all this harassment, but you haven't actually demonstrated it, yo. If and when you can show me some evidence of harassment of your clients and their agents, come talk to me and I'll change my mind."
For our part at HBB, we're not interested in disseminating anyone's contact information, nor in having it dug up and disseminated by someone else, nor in contacting any of the parties involved, nor in having any of our supporters do so.
As we did at Calgary Expo, we will continue to embrace an ethic of civility and non-aggression, and we hope to lead by our example. We did not harass anyone, and we will not engage in any behavior that could be regarded as harassment. We do not condone harassment, and will continue to promote calm and reasoned debate, polite disagreement, respecting the rights of others, and following the rules of a civilized society.
We are the people who politely state our case and allow others to approach us and engage in a discourse, not the ones who barge into other people's events, screaming profanities while they're trying to give a speech or pulling fire alarms to shut it down. This is who we are, and who we will continue to be.
I'm certain HBB will be giving more detailed updates on everything that happened the last few days, once we've all had a chance to collect our thoughts.
Thank you again to everyone who supported our fundraisers, and I only wish I could reveal a verdict. But again, while this court session was a victory for us, the final verdict will have to wait until November.