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Stoffman v Ontario Veterinary Association (1990), 73 OR (2d) 737 (Ont Div Ct)

Facts:

S is a veterinary surgeon and member of OVA. A dog owner lost a dog and found it dead; filed a complaint with OVA. The OVA didn’t institute a disciplinary hearing.

Dog owner filed another complaint. The OVA proceeded with a disciplinary hearing. S found not guilty. S sued the association for malicious prosecution.

At trial, the decision was based on policy reasons: there should be no action against a self-regulating professional association for disciplinary proceedings against one of its members.

Issue(s):

Can S sue a disciplinary body for malicious prosecution? (yes)
** Does this case constitute an exception to the general rule that actions in malicious prosecution are only available in criminal cases (and cases of petition in bankruptcy and winding-up of a public company)?

Ratio:

An action in malicious prosecution may be brought against a self-regulating professional association by one of its members so long as that member has suffered damage.

Analysis:

The OVA is not immune from an action in malicious prosecution. This case should apply the test from Nelles v Ontario.

There are three sorts of damage, any of which would be sufficient to support an action for malicious prosecution:
** 1. Damage to reputation;
** 2. Danger of physical injury;
** 3. Damage to personal property.

Holding:

Appeal allowed in favour of Stoffman.


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