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Ontario Superior Court orders Balita and Tess Cusipag to pay $90,000 towards legal costs in Senator Enverga defamation case

Toronto– Balita Media Inc. and Editor/Publisher Tess Cusipag have been ordered by the Hon. Sidney Lederman, Judge of the Ontario Superior Court, to pay $90,000 towards legal costs incurred by Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr. related to the civil action for defamation brought by the Ontario Senator against the defendants.

The legal costs awarded bring the total amount to which Senator Enverga is entitled to $340,000 plus pre-judgment interest.

In a July 13 judgment, the Senator was awarded $150,000 in general and aggravated damages and $100,000 in punitive damages.

Explaining the substantial indemnity costs, Justice Lederman wrote in part: “Given the seriousness of the defamatory allegations against Senator Enverga and the determination of the defendants to pursue a scurrilous attack upon his reputation even in the face of having no evidence whatsoever to support the allegations, it cannot lie in their mouths to quarrel with the time spent and research conducted by the plaintiff in seeking vindication in this proceeding.”

In the July 13 judgment, Justice Lederman stated that the defendants, and in particular Cusipag, “has done virtually everything she could to destroy and discredit Senator Enverga in an unrelenting manner”, thus necessitating the award of punitive damages.

“They engaged in absolutely no investigation whatsoever as to the truth of what they were publishing. They were recklessly indifferent to the truth of the Article … At no time has there been any retraction or apology given.  Cusipag vows to continue to make defamatory statements against the plaintiff [Senator Enverga] and has shown no interest in stopping her efforts or refraining from misconduct.  Cusipag was motivated by malice.  She obviously holds a deep- seated resentment towards Senator Enverga,” the Judge added.