Ontario Superior Court of Justice orders Foodbenders to pay for costs incurred to vindicate Lawfare Project client’s rights

Ontario judge awards pro bono legal group additional costs of $37,000 as well as punitive damages.

The Lawfare Project (LP) together with attorneys David Elmaleh and Aaron Rosenberg of RE-LAW LLP, were able to secure a recent victory in the  claim filed on behalf of their client Shai DeLuca with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Previously, the court ordered Foodbenders and its proprietor, Kimberly Hawkins, to pay $75,000 in general and aggravated damages in addition to $10,000 in punitive damages to their client. The court also granted a permanent injunction in favor of Mr. DeLuca.

“I am grateful to the Court and the judge who has set a precedent in Canada for Jews,” said Shai DeLuca. “No longer will we simply sit by and be used as a punching bag for those with nefarious, racist ideologies. Today, Jews in Canada can feel a little more protected by the law that far too long didn’t see the antisemitism Jews face as a legal issue.” 

This week, the court issued a new order that the defendant must pay just over $37,000 for the costs incurred in successfully prosecuting Mr. Deluca’s claims, which makes the cumulative award to  total $122,589.77.

“We thank the Court for this important ruling, which makes clear that engaging in Jew-hatred comes with liability and substantial cost,” said Brooke Goldstein, Founder and Executive Director of LP. “Our client, Mr. DeLuca was the subject of an intentional and vicious antisemitic blood libel that caused his life to be upended. Our victory in this case shows that Jew-hatred will not be tolerated in Canada and that when we engage in impact litigation we can be made whole with such cost awards. The Lawfare Project will continue to fight for the Jewish community in Canada to live free from hateful discrimination and harassment.”

Following over three years of high-conflict litigation in Toronto, and after a full, contested trial, the Court released a detailed decision on December 22, 2023, ruling that Foodbenders maliciously and unfairly defamed Mr. DeLuca without justification with certain antisemitic Instagram posts.

“Mr. DeLuca served in the IDF to protect Israel, not to be falsely accused and targeted for his bravery, “said David Elmaleh, lead counsel on behalf of Shai DeLuca. “We will continue to fight to protect the reputation of Mr. DeLuca and the reputations of all IDF soldiers, Israelis, Jews and Zionists.”

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The Lawfare Project is a nonprofit legal think tank based in New York City that mobilizes public officials, media, jurists and legal experts to counter the international lawfare phenomenon: the abuse of the law as a weapon of war against Western democracy. Through its Legal Fund, the LP facilitates and finances offensive and defensive counter-lawfare actions regarding pressing issues that include, among others: fighting terror-front organizations operating in the United States and Canada; bigoted and unlawful international commercial discrimination based on ethnicity and national origin; and the perversion and misapplication of international and national human rights law against the United States and other democracies.
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