February 27th, 2017
The Court of Appeals Ruling is not in yet. We will report the Ruling when it is available. In the interim, a new article as below.
Sarah Eisen has been punted. She was the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA) Senior Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer.
The CSA’s first threat letter against us was signed by Sarah Eisen. Then, a few months later, it was Eisen who launched CSA’s legal attacks against PS Knight Co, myself (Gordon Knight) and my late father, Peter Knight. Throughout this half-decade of horrid litigation, it has been Sarah Eisen captaining CSA’s little war, witnessing testimonies, attending Court sessions and, on occasion, participating in negotiations.
The fact is however, that Sarah Eisen left CSA at the end of last October. The CSA just declined to advise us, or our legal team, of the change.
She may have recently fallen from favour, but back in May of 2011, Sarah Eisen was brimming with confidence. “As you are aware,” she wrote, ”I am Legal Counsel at CSA. I am following up on the conversation Loretta Wegman and I had with you on April 6, 2011.” So far, so good. “Your company, PS Knight Co Ltd, is continuing to infringe on CSA’s copyright by reproducing a substantial part of the Code”.
Well, no. We’re covered under Queen’s Printer copyright laws and, awkwardly, we have CSA’s own authorization to do exactly what she was accusing us of doing. Apparently she didn’t research her subject before sending her threat letter, for she claimed that “we do not and will not authorize the actions of your company.” These supposedly unauthorized actions were the actions CSA had already authorized. Yes, them.
Then she went for the big closer; “We hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist from all further use [etc.] and exploitation of CSA materials”. The last line of her letter featured the promise to sue us into submission if we didn’t do as she demanded.
I tried to convince our legal counsel to submit the following response;
“To Ms Eisen;
Most Sincerely, Gordon Knight”
Our lawyer wasn’t keen, he vetoed my brilliant reply and sent something bland instead. It was no great loss, the CSA’s great thinkers weren’t likely to know the reference anyway. Like Uriah Heep, it’s lost on a lot of people.
Anyway, back to Eisen. One never got the impression that she did any homework. She’d launched this litigation without checking to see if CSA had already authorized us to quote from the Code prior to legislation, and it seems she never considered that once the Code was passed into law it couldn’t be privately owned. Worse, the ramifications for the balance of CSA’s operations didn’t seem to have crossed her mind. She didn’t know her opponent, didn’t research her subject, and didn’t run any exposure calculations whatsoever prior to litigation.
Unwittingly, and unnecessarily, she stumbled her employer in an existential war. That war is now threatening their entire standards business, it’s exposed numerous scandals in their certifications business, and it’s brought to light their continuing status as an Agency of the Canadian Government.
Why do you suppose CSA’s Legal Department was so rusty at the basics of the practice of law? Well, as one of their former General Counsels, Ellen Pekillis, said; “The legal department is not here to practice law or even risk management, [it is] to achieve CSA’s organizational objectives”. Ah, that would explain it. Then she hammered the point; “I am less a lawyer than a manager who went to law school.”
The new CSA, under Ash Sahi, was supposed to be “an engineering professional services firm,” not a Government Agency. It was a “95-year-old company,” not a not-for-profit. The new CSA would squeeze for money, it would bluster and threaten, it would tantrum, it would use it’s bully scale to get what it wanted. And it wanted PS Knight Co, or more specifically it wanted PS Knight Co’s revenue. They wanted us to hand over all of our profits and only then would they let us be.
“Those high-opportunity activities are game changers in terms of CSA’s business model and where we get the most bang for the buck.”
Well, it didn’t work out that way.
PS Knight Co fought back, and we’ve won some impressive battles.
First we chased out their President of Standards, Bonnie Rose, who left CSA quite quickly, and right after nine-hours of negotiating with PS Knight.
Then, in late 2014, we forced out their CEO, Ash Sahi.
Throughout 2014-15, RestoreCSA published a series of articles on dysfunction and apparent illegality at CSA. We significantly contributed to nervousness on their Board. By August, 2015, in the aftermath of the RestoreCSA barrage, the CSA Board had lost 42% of its directors in only six months.
Most recently, as of early February, the CSA’s General Counsel was apparently forced out. This was RJ Falconi, the man behind the curtain and the one ultimately responsible for CSA’s PS Knight debacle.
Their new CEO took over in November, 2015. His name is David Weinstein. We immediately sent a welcome letter, all warm and friendly. Then we went to work on him.
You see, we were told that Weinstein expected to take about three months to assess the CSA talent landscape and its collection of legal liabilities and then he’d make some changes. To help move things in that direction, we published a series of RestoreCSA articles, happily highlighting a wide range of problems.
Now, after almost a year of exposures, liabilities, and public embarrassments, Weinstein has started to wield a sword at CSA. It’s becoming a bloodbath.
Almost everyone responsible for the PS Knight litigation has been removed, from Sarah Eisen to Falconi himself, her Lord Protector, and Michael Carey, another in-house counsel. Ash Sahi’s Hartmann allies on the Board have been shown the door. Magali Depras, their COO, another Hartmann ally of Sahi, is also off the roster. And there are others, in Finance and in Public Relations, the leaders that dropped CSA into this legal quagmire are being removed and replaced.
Weinstein can do less about CSA’s legal liabilities. Like deckchairs on the Titanic, moving them about doesn’t stop the sinking.
As for the big iceberg that Eisen steered them into, we’re still waiting on the Court of Appeals Ruling, then heading to the full Court of Appeals Hearing later this year, then to the Federal Court for the full trial, sometime next year, probably, insha’Allah, and then the Alberta hearings for counterclaim to recover from all the damage that CSA’s done. It’ll be years yet if nothing changes.
Regular readers know that we’re working on forcing those changes and, hopefully, we can report on some pleasant progress fairly soon.
In the interim, I can’t help thinking of Sarah Eisen, at work after a fashion at her new job of a sort. One of her coworkers at CSA, a friend of hers, told me back in 2014 that “Sarah is one of the nicest human beings.” I listened politely but couldn’t relate, I smiled and fiddled with my coffee cup. Sarah, I was told, was warm and caring and wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Someday we’ll be free to write more substantively on the conduct of Sarah Eisen, Falconi and friends, Sahi and his ilk, but we are constrained by the rules of privilege so long as the litigation continues. Granted, CSA has massively violated privilege and their violations are one of the items of the Court Ruling that we’re waiting on. Should the Court rule to waive privilege it would just as massively liberate the RestoreCSA newsfeed.
Until then, or until resolution, we can merely say of Sarah Eisen that she faced a choice between integrity and expediency and she chose the latter, to the detriment of a family business, through the betrayal and harassment of an elderly man, and this farcical fight against a citizen who was minding his own business -literally.