Three prominent members of Montreal's Hassidic Jewish community who lost a lawsuit filed against an Outremont blogger for alleged libel are not giving up their legal battle.
Their lawyer Julius Grey confirms to CJAD 800 News they've filed a leave to appeal before the Quebec Court of Appeal.
Community leader Alex Werzberger, and real estate developer Michael Rosenberg and his son Martin alleged that Pierre Lacerte's blog unfairly zeroed in on them for taking them to task for flouting municipal bylaws when it came to issues such as parking and construction permits. They alleged that they were being targetted and ridiculed unfairly, damaging their reputations.
Superior Court Justice Claude Dallaire rejected their arguments, saying they were unable to prove any of the stress and damages they said they went through or any discrimination or racial motives. She went on to say that as active members of the community and public figures, the plaintiffs are not sheltered from criticism or parody as protected by freedom of expression.
Werzberger said they disagree with the judge's reasonings and believe she made legal errors, pointing out she did indicate in her ruling that he had an excellent reputation.
"I don't think I have to stand for it to be dragged in the gutter," Werzberger told CJAD 800 News.
Werzberger said he was surprised at the outcome because he said he thought the judge was sympathetic towards their cause during the trial.
But Werzberger said he wasn't surprised that Lacerte was back at it in his blog immediately after the ruling, posting a photoshopped illustration of Werzberger and the two other plaintiffs crucified outside Outremont borough hall. He said it wasn't as insulting to him as it was to the Catholic Church.
"I hope we win in the second round. Not so much to get the money but to shut him up," Werzberger said.
Lacerte had told CJAD 800 News at the time he hoped this would turn the page on what he calls tense relations with certain Hassidic leaders, insisting he has no issues with the larger community. He also said he hoped to improve relations by being a little less aggressive in his blog from now on.