In this motion, the plaintiff moved to compel production of electronic data and the defendant moved to secure the plaintiff’s computer and to examine the hard drive. This action arose because the defendant invalidated a bet placed by the plaintiff and refused to pay the winning award.
The defendant is an English corporation running a website, where individuals can place bets against each other. A Mr. LeBlanc placed two bets at 1000:1 odds on both the over and under of the same basketball game. That meant Mr. LeBlanc was guaranteed to lose $1,000 for every dollar bet. The bets were accepted by the plaintiff within minutes, which meant Mr. LeBlanc would lose US$274,450.
It was alleged that the plaintiff’s husband, employed by Mr. LeBlanc to place bets for him, had placed the above two bets on behalf of Mr. LeBlanc without authorization. The defence also alleged the plaintiff’s husband used a computer on Mr. LeBlanc’s business premise to accept the bets on behalf of the plaintiff. The defendant invalidated the successful bet placed on behalf of the plaintiff upon the request by LeBlanc.
The plaintiff sought to compel the defendant to generate a report itemizing all of the bets ever placed by LeBlanc and the I.P. addressed used by LeBlanc when those bets were placed. The purpose was to verify whether the fact that the bets were placed from the same I.P. address could prove that they were made on the same computer or from the same location, as well as to verify whether LeBlanc never placed bets on basketball.
Master Macleod stated the rules dealing with any motion for production in Kay v Posluns (1989) 71 OR (2d) 238 (HCJ): first whether the information is relevant and secondly if so, whether the defendant should be relieved of producing the information because the demand is unusually onerous and abusive. He concluded that the court has discretion to order such a report while noting that such order is more intrusive than ordering document production.
As the plaintiff refused to disclose what computer she used to place the bets or to admit the computer was located on LeBlanc’s premise, the defendant moved to preserve the plaintiff’s computer in order to preserve the evidence. Master Macleod refused to make hypothetical orders and requested the plaintiff to disclose the location of the computer on which she placed her bet. The plaintiff subsequently disclosed that it was located on LeBlanc’s premise.
With this answer, there was clearly no need to preserve the plaintiff’s computer. That answer also destroyed the foundation for the plaintiff’s motion. As such, the Master dismissed both the motion and the cross motion except requiring the defendant to have its database available pending the final resolution.