Windsor restaurant facing defamation lawsuit after alleged mask dispute
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A Windsor lawyer is suing an east-end restaurant for defamation after an alleged mask-wearing dispute gained national attention last October.
In a statement of claim obtained by CTV News, Antoine D’Ailly alleged he “has been the subject of campaign of hateful threats and attacks,” after the restaurant owner went public over his refusal to wear a mask at its makeshift, outdoor takeout window on Oct. 7, 2020.
According to the lawsuit, D’Ailly claims he “has suffered, and may in the future suffer, economic loss and/or a loss of competitive advantage in the workplace.”
D’Ailly issued a letter to the restaurant Thai Palace threatening legal action after the incident if the restaurant owner did not settle out of court for $20,000.
According to the statement of claim, he is now seeking $50,000 in damages for libel and/or slander or unjust enrichment.
“I suppose the irony about this is that by commencing this lawsuit and reaching out to the media he seems to be bringing attention to this situation once again,” said lawyer David Robins who now represents Thai Palace and its owner Renu Anderson.
In the claim, D’Ailly states he disclosed he had a medical exemption from wearing a mask required under COVID-19 legislation to staff and Anderson but was still refused service.
“This defamation action has unfortunately become necessary to correct the record,” D’Ailly said through his lawyer.
“Unfortunately (Thai Palace) chose to go to the media with a story containing false and defamatory statements which were widely publicized. As a result, my office received an avalanche of hate mail and hate calls including threats of significant bodily harm.”
Robins believes at no point was D’Ailly discriminated against because of his alleged medical exemption and said his clients intend to fight those allegations.
He said it is his understanding that his client offered to bring the food to D’Ailly’s vehicle or leave it outside for contactless exchange.
“So they seemed to have offered to accommodate him without even knowing that he was subject to any medical exemption,” Robins said.
He said it’s regrettable the issue continues to get attention the way it is, saying his clients would like to move on.
“Obviously she’s upset and disappointed having been sued,” Robins said. “I think she’s also disappointed the matter also seems to be getting more media attention particularly given the nature of Dr. D’Ailly’s complaint that he didn’t like the media attention that he was getting. It seems he’s brought that back on again for himself.”