Former Saskatoon mayoral candidate sues Law Society for defamation

Mark Zielke alleges the Law Society failed to update its communications to reflect the appeals process surrounding his ability to practice law.

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Former Saskatoon mayoral candidate and self-proclaimed ‘defender of justice’ is suing the Law Society of Saskatchewan for over $1 million, alleging it failed to disclose the appeals process surrounding his ability to practice the right without a permit.

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In a statement filed March 9 in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon, Mark Zielke alleges that his entrepreneurial ventures suffered as a result of the defendant’s defamatory and/or negligent actions, citing a loss of income of more than $4,000. per month.

The statements include allegations that have not been proven in court.

In December 2021, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal quashed an injunctive order from the Saskatoon Queen’s Bench this prevented Zielke, who is not a lawyer, from representing people in traffic court, small claims court and the residential tenancies office.

In 2019, Judge Brian Scherman found that Zielke violated the Legal Profession Act, rejecting his argument that sections of the Summary Offenses Procedure Act and the Small Claims Act allowed non-lawyers to act as agents remunerated.

The appeals judges ruled that the provisions of these laws operate as an exception to the prohibition under the Legal Profession Act and do not specify that the agent cannot be paid.

Zielke’s statement says the Law Society, which requested the injunction order, knew he had filed a notice of appeal.

In his claim, he alleges that the Law Society notified members of the legal community of the injunction order – including posting a blog on its website in 2020 – without reference to the ongoing appeals process. .

“Because of this publication and following the other actions of the defendant, it became well known to the general public that the restraining order was in place and that the general public considered the plaintiff to have broken the law,” reads claim. .

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The tort of defamation refers to damage to a person’s reputation by communicating false information to a third party.

Zielke alleges that for 13 months the Law Society failed to update its blog post to reflect the pending appeal and did not include the appeal decision until January 12, more than a month after it was published. . He also alleges that the Law Society refused or neglected his repeated requests to notify the legal community of the appeal decision, just as they had the injunction order.

“The omission of these details caused irreparable harm to the plaintiff, his business ventures and his political career,” the claim states.

Zielke was a candidate for mayor in the 2020 municipal elections, during his appeal process.

He alleges that the Law Society continued to defame him in a media interview after the appeal decision by making “no attempt to clarify the fact that the plaintiff was asked to attend traffic court and the court of small claims”.

The lawsuit seeks $1 million in punitive or exemplary damages for “breach of duty in good faith”, $150,000 in general damages, $112,000 in special or consequential damages and $100,000 in damages. aggravated interests for “mental distress, loss of reputation and inability to find alternatives”. use.”

The Law Society said as of Friday it had not been served with the statement.

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