Litigation Update

August 8th, 2016

Summers are slow in litigation.  When not actually running the business of PS Knight Co, our time is spent preparing to defend the existence of PS Knight Co. 

Regular readers will recall that the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), an Agency of the Federal Government, launched a lawsuit against our company in 2012 and, ever since then, we have been playing defence against a much, much larger adversary.

It’s been a while since we updated our readership on the Court case.  Here then, is your update, complete with amusing extras.

The Government’s first lawsuit against us, known as the T-1178-12 case, is largely paused pending the result of our appeal in the verdict of the Government’s second lawsuit against us, an injunctive relief case filed as number T-646-15.

Pending the result of that appeal, right now the CSA does privately own those portions of electrical law for which they have copyright assignments.  Likewise, thanks to that surreal Court Ruling, PS Knight Co also owns its portion of electrical law for which we have copyright assignments.  And, of course, anyone else who has ever successfully lobbied any level of government for inclusion of any text now privately owns those portions of law also.  It’s all quite peculiar.

Speaking of peculiar, you may recall that we sent invoices to Canada’s provincial and Federal Governments covering their usage of “our” laws.  Well, we have some responses from them.  While they differ in language, the typical government response to our invoices is that they do not recognize the legitimacy of the Federal Court Ruling in the T-646 case and will not comply with it. 

What governments want of course, is asymmetrical justice;  Their Agencies should be able to own legislation and take great amounts of money from humble citizens like ourselves, and all for their own comfort, profit and convenience, while simultaneously treating identical action upon that same Ruling by anyone else as illegitimate.

We are finalizing appropriate responses to governments and will update as we’re able.

For your amusement, we’ve learned that the first private investigator that CSA hired to dig dirt on us has recently left the business.  This guy first contacted us using a pseudonym to order some books.  But his order was awfully suspicious, we managed to out him within an hour of his order.  Then he compounded his error by asking for an update on his order by email, accidentally using his real name and email address.  Tracing him to the equally capable law firm of Kestenberg Seigel Lipkis was pretty straightforward.  He was their “Manager of Investigations.”  Now he collects fares for Toronto City Transit.

Next, we have some silly motions from CSA.  The CSA was busy this spring, pushing as much paper as they could at the Court in the hope that one of their motions would bankrupt us.  And one of these just might but, happily, not yet.

Specifically, the CSA filed a motion to compel PS Knight Co to pay over $100k to CSA’s accounts on the basis that our appeal of the Federal Court T-646 Ruling should be treated as though it is not occurring.  Let’s unpack that.  After the T-646 Ruling, each party submitted to the Court its legal costs for that case.  If CSA is to be believed, their legal costs are roughly ten times what ours have been.  Of course, CSA did not submit a cost breakdown, nor did they submit time records to demonstrate specific legal work, and there were no receipts submitted for any expenses whatsoever.  Still, in the wisdom of the Court, all of CSA’s unsupported and, by appearances, hugely inflated costs were accepted as valid and subject to compensation from PS Knight Co.  Thats right, the little guy that CSA is suing has to pay the big guy for the costs they incurred in suing us.  We’re appealing that too, but CSA wants the cash right now, as though no appeal is taking place.

Also this spring, the CSA filed another motion for Security of Costs.  That is, they want the Court to compel PS Knight Co to place another $100k in trust, like a sort of third-party held bond, available to compensate CSA for their legal costs in the event that they win in the fight they started with us.  It’s fairly transparent what they’re doing.  Legal defence is expensive, and we’ve been defending against this Government Agency for over four years now.  After all of these costs in these years, we cannot survive a six-figure cash demand if the Court should order one.  And CSA knows it.  After all, they have our financials, they know what costs we can cover.

Swell people, aren’t they?

Notice how none of their arguments are on substance, they’re all instead on process, trying to bankrupt their victims?  We’ve sure noticed that.

Alright, let’s pause for some levity.  Remember Julie Weis?  We reported her working arrangements in July 2014.  Here’s part of our report;

“First, Julie started “working from home.”  She lives in Columbus, Ohio, a distance of 144 miles from the CSA office in Cleveland.  So her commute took two hours and fifteen minutes on Interstate 71, each way, each day.  If she really did spend four and a half hours commuting every day, well, one can appreciate how tedious that would get.  It didn’t last.  Julie Weis stopped working at the Cleveland office and instead began “reporting to the office in Columbus.”  The problem?  There is no CSA office in Columbus.”

Well, Ms Weis isn’t commuting anymore.  She’s left CSA entirely.  Must’ve been the rubbish commute that did it.

Next item for your update; we found some letters in our archives recently.  Here’s an interesting one;

Dear Sir, “I would like to order one copy each of your ‘Electrical Code Simplified’ books.  […] 

Please send and bill to the address below. 

For more information you can call me directly at [number]. 

Thank you,

Michael Younder
Product Manager, Information Products
Canadian Standards Association”

That letter is dated Dec 22, 2003.  The CSA has claimed in Court to know nothing about our products until 2006.  That’s awkward.

Of course, the CSA also sent us a great many letters over the years, from the 1960’s into the 2000’s, all dealing with our books, these same books that they now claim to have never heard of. 

Notice how truth doesn’t matter?  We’ve sure noticed that.

Amusements continue.  Remember the Goodfella, Gianluca Arcari?  After the hasty exit of Bonnie Rose, the Goodfella replaced her as President of Standards despite not having any background in standards.  His role appears to have been mostly window dressing.  Last September, the CSA negotiated with the China National Institute of Standardization to begin “working together to develop safety standards in China.”  The Goodfella, the CSA’s President of Standards, wasn’t invited to the standards negotiations.  Shortly thereafter, the Goodfella was removed from Standards entirely and given the impressive non-job of “Special Advisor to the CEO.”  He’s now “leading” CSA’s Home & Commercial unit.  We’ve no idea what that is, the unit isn’t listed on CSA’s website or in their annual report.

Next item;  Privilege. 

Since the launch of Government litigation against us in 2012, we have become well practiced at negotiations.  In these four years, we have endured over 40 hours of one-on-one negotiation with a variety of CSA executives.

All of these negotiations are confidential of course, so we can’t reveal any details of any of these conversations, any of the particulars of discussion.  At law, this is called “privilege.”  When the media speak of “privileged information,” this is what they’re referring to, it means that such information cannot legally be revealed.

In our CSA negotiations, their side has been awfully particular about not spilling the particulars.  Every negotiation, mediation, Judicial Dispute Resolution, (etc.) has been subject, at their insistence, to stringent protections of privilege.  Our side has accepted these conditions and we have honoured our commitments to privilege.

On May 16th, the CSA filed with the Federal Court an affidavit which pedantically and histrionically, and at considerable length, indeed through the majority of their document, expounded in detail on their experience of negotiating with PS Knight Co.  They weren’t too picky about accuracy.  Their commitment to honesty and objectivity is akin to an NDP assessment of a Conservative platform.  Issued to the media.  During an election. 

The reality is that all of these negotiations were privileged, and all at CSA’s insistence, and all of CSA’s one-sided commentary to the Court on these negotiations is therefore a breach of privilege. 

The really galling part however, is that we can’t correct the record without ourselves breaching privilege.  For each of CSA’s wild accusations, we can only state there is no accuracy to them, we can’t furnish working papers for instance, or any other evidence to offset the CSA’s baseless charges. 

What happens next?

Well, barring any major developments, the Government’s various litigations against us (there are three of them now) will continue into the spring of next year.  We are working to change the math, to make continuing in this crooked course more expensive than a cleanup.  We’ve got some plans for that.

This one small family business may yet survive against the violence of a Government Agency intent on its destruction and armed with the financial might of the Federal Treasury. 

Long odds perhaps, but we’re still standing.