Karen R. Zimmer*
Karen R. Zimmer is the leader of our firm’s Defamation + Publication Risk Management Practice Group, and a member of the firm’s Business Disputes, Franchise, Insurance, 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, society litigation and governance matters, directors and officers liability, complex commercial litigation, fraud claims, and professional regulatory matters.
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 extensive experience in defending professional regulatory bodies, health and school boards, insurance benefit providers, non-profit associations, professionals, insurers, individuals, and the media, including CBC and radio stations, in a variety of libel and slander matters. She is well versed at defending print communications in the private and public sector, media articles, internet publications including those on Facebook, websites and blogs and radio broadcasts.
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.
- 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 BCBC 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.
Professional + Community Affiliations
- Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- Canadian Bar Association, Member
- Vancouver Bar Association, Member
- Canadian Defence Lawyers, Member
- International Association of Privacy Professionals, Member
- Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Member
Publications + Presentations
- May 7 – 9, 2019, “Navigating Privacy and Defamation Laws when Investigating and Reporting Benefit Fraud”, CLHIA Conference Vancouver, Presenter
- May 4, 2018, “Damages and Other Consequences for Breaching Privacy”, Risk Management Branch Conference Vancouver, Presenter
- See her defamation blog entries at BC Defamation Law Blog
- 2014 – 2017, Various presentations on defamation issues for her insurance clients
- August 18, 2017, “Best ways for non-profits to navigate B.C.’s new Societies Act“, Business in Vancouver, Author
- August 2017, “Privacy vs. free speech on the internet“, BarTalk Magazine, Author
- July 2017, “What an insured needs to know when defending a defamation action“, Claims Canada, Author
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.
Assistant: Marina Sunjic
Direct Line: 604 643 2158
* Professional Law Corporation