Education

Bar Admission

  • 2015 Admitted to the Yukon Bar
  • 2000 Admitted to the British Columbia Bar

Karen Zimmer is the leader of our firm’s Defamation + Publication Risk Management Practice Group, and a member of the firm’s Business Disputes, Information + Privacy, Local Government and Charities + Non-Profit Practice Groups.

Her practice is primarily focused on the following areas of civil and commercial litigation: libel and slander claims, breach of privacy claims, privacy breach response coaching, society litigation matters, directors and officers liability, complex commercial litigation, professional regulatory matters, and intellectual property disputes.

She is experienced in pursuing her clients’ interests in urgent interlocutory applications, short and lengthy trials, appeals, arbitrations and mediations. She has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia as well as the Yukon Supreme Court and the Human Rights Tribunal. She has represented clients in matters before the federal and provincial Privacy Commissioner offices.

She has extensive experience in defending professional regulatory bodies, health and school boards, insurance benefit providers, non-profit associations, professionals, insurers and the media, including CBC and radio stations, in a variety of libel and slander matters and breach of privacy claims.

She is also experienced in providing privacy breach response coaching for a variety of matters, including those involving rogue employees, ransomware attacks and phishing attacks.

Ms. Zimmer believes in the importance of assessing risk exposure early on in her retainer and providing ongoing risk management advice to ensure that contentious matters do not escalate. Where litigation is to be avoided, she is experienced in working with her clients to achieve a resolution.

Ms. Zimmer appreciates that her areas of practice frequently require quick action, and responds accordingly.

On A Personal Note...

Karen, her husband and two adventurous children live on the North Shore. She is enthusiastic about travelling, skiing, running, gardening and wine.

Representative Experience

  • Well versed at defending print communications in the private and public sector, media articles, radio broadcasts, and internet publications including those on Facebook, websites and blogs.
  • Reviewing publications to provide pre-publication advice, and recommending strategies to minimize the risks of being sued in defamation.
  • Providing governance advice to non-profit clients, including on membership and election disputes, drafting Bylaws and Policies, and defending non-profits in legal proceedings brought under the Societies Act and the Canada Not-for-profit Act.
  • Responding to privacy breaches including breach coaching, defending breach of privacy claims, and advising on compliance with FIPPA, PIPA, GDRP and PIPEDA.
  • Obtaining various urgent injunctions in commercial litigation matters, including an order to remove a director and shareholder from management.
  • Successfully opposed application for summary judgment and injunction in dispute involving mining clients.
  • Obtaining order to remove opposing counsel due to a conflict of interest.
  • Urgent applications on behalf of media clients, including applications related to publication bans and for cameras in hearing rooms (see i.e. v. Zehaf-Bibeau, 2014 BCPC 253).
  • Various cases concerning the defence of absolute privilege, including application in the context of a pre-litigation demand letter (see i.e. Peak Innovations Inc. v. Pacific Rim Brackets Ltd., 2009 BCSC 1034)
  • Successfully defending with David Gooderham, a local school board and four trustees in a claim by a former school superintendent arising out of extensive coverage in the local media. The claim was dismissed in its entirety after a lengthy trial and with costs awarded in favour of our clients for approximately $700,000: Lane v. Board of School Trustees of School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith), 2006 BCSC 129.
  • Successfully defending with David McKnight, a regional health board in an action commenced by a restaurant after the local newspaper published an article entitled, ‘Vomit serves up virus at buffet’. The case was dismissed against our clients as it was found that the statements made by our clients did not identify the restaurant and alternatively were protected by the defences of fair comment and justification: Restaurant Ltd. v. Northern Interior Regional Health Board et al. 2004 BCSC 294, 2005 BCCA 210.
  • Various litigation involving contract disputes, guarantees, and intellectual property matters.

Publications

Blogs

Managing Risks When Asked for an Employee Reference

Privacy breach by your rogue employee: Are you liable?

Derivative actions under the Societies Act (BC): what are they, why are they important, and what do they mean to my society?

Privacy vs. Free speech on the Internet: An update on the right to be forgotten and what is happening at home

The interplay between BC’s statutory tort of privacy and the tort of defamation

Facebook’s Terms of Use does not give California Court jurisdiction over the privacy rights of British Columbians

Facebook’s Terms of Use does not give California Court jurisdiction over the privacy rights of British Columbians

Facebook’s Terms of Use does not give California Court jurisdiction over the privacy rights of British Columbians

Ensuring that the new Societies Act (B.C.) does not have you headed to the Courtroom

What they wish they knew before publishing

Special Costs: When Pursuing Your Defamation Claim May Cost You

Upholding the end of the bargain, and avoiding penalty and unconscionable claims – Case comment: Do v. Nichols

Upholding the end of the bargain, and avoiding penalty and unconscionable claims – Case Comment: Do v. Nichols

Making Complaints to Regulatory Bodies within the Protection of Absolute Privilege

Internet Defamation: Notice of Claim Served via Message Board

An insurer’s duty to defend in defamation cases

Liability for hyperlinking after the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision of Crookes v. Newton

The Hexagonal Hole of Modernity – Defamation in an Internet Age: Crookes v. Newton 2011 SCC 47

Only 2 years in British Columbia to commence a defamation action, regardless of when the defamatory publication is discovered.