Design Group Staffing Inc. v. Fierlbeck, 2008 ABQB 35 (CanLII)

  • January 15, 2008

Date: 2008-01-15 Docket: 0603 02889 ; 0601 05676  Frans F. Slatter JCQBA. | Link

Application to set aside an Anton Piller order. Defendant was working as an IT consultant developing applications for the Alberta Treasury Branches and was dismissed after a dispute. Before leaving, he sent himself 300 emails embedded in 5 separate emails from his ATB account to his home account on the Telus network. He then deleted that information from his laptop and emptied the "trash". Concerned about possible "identity theft" if the emails contained personal information about ATB customers, ATB alerted the plaintiff who in turn applied for the AP order and a Norwich order to freeze the Telus account. The court rejected the argument by the defendant that it was not a true AP order, not being intended for preservation but rather for the protection of identity theft information. However, subsequent analysis of the emails seized revealed that there was no customer information in the emails sent, and ATB could have discovered the contents from the copies still in their servers. Although the plaintiff applied for the AP in good faith, they should have determined whether ATB could learn what the emails contained, noting the 10 day period between when the emails were sent and when plaintiff applied for the order. Court determined there was material non-disclosure and set aside the two orders. (Questions from P.D.: How long is reasonable to recover the email, review the content, determine through sampling that there was sensitive info, determine the appropriate legal course of action and put together the application?)