Back in May, I blogged about Louisette Lanteigne, a local stay-at-home mom who out of concern for the safety of her children was posting to her website what she understood to be safety and environmental violations at a nearby constuction site. At that time she was being threatened by the builder, Activa Holdings Inc, with legal action if she didn’t remove the photos from her site.
Well, she didn’t. So they filed suit. For $2 million dollars.
The story has since been picked up by the national press, Slashdot, and a growing number of bloggers.
From the Canoe story:
Her efforts led to letters and kudos from various government officials for reporting alleged violations. Then-environment minister Leona Dombrowsky wrote her to say, “Your advocacy on behalf of your neighbourhood is commendable and I encourage you to contact the ministry . . .to report any further incidents.”
Environment Ministry spokesman John Steele said work by people like Lanteigne is of great value because there aren’t enough ministry workers available to spot every infraction.
Murdoch [Activa’s lawyer] said Activa realizes it’s risking negative PR but the company thinks the lawsuit is the only way to defend its reputation.
“Ultimately, they’re confident it will be resolved in their favour,” Murdoch said. “They’re confident the right public perception will come about.”
Until now, there were two blog posts about this. Mine and Michael Hiemstra’s, along with a couple of articles in some local papers. Since launching their lawsuit, 20 new blog posts have been written, along with national and international press coverage. It is hard to imagine a worse PR situation for Activa than the one they have just created for themselves.
At the very best, Activa will win the suit and be remembered as the company who sues safety-minded folks into bankrupcy for criticizing them. At worse, they will be remembered as the company who, when found to be violating safety and environmental regulations, preferred to sue the messenger instead of clean up their act.
If you would like to share your thoughts with the folks at Activa, you can reach them at the following address (thanks, Martin):
Address: 735 Bridge St W , Waterloo N2V 2H1
Telephone: (519) 886-9400 , Fax: (519) 886-8955
Contact Peter Armbruster
Position Vice President, Operations
Product and Service Home Builders
Web Page: www.activagroup.ca (nothing there yet)