Complaint discontinued on the basis of bad faith as complainant had released the retailer from liability

Discontinued Case Summary #2014-004

October 21, 2014


Lessons Learned

  • Where a complainant releases an organization of all claims and complaints related to a particular action, a complaint filed by the complainant against the organization related to the particular action may be discontinued, on the basis that the complaint was made in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(b) of PIPEDA.

Complaint

The complainant and a retailer had been involved in litigation in small claims court, during which the complainant made an access request for her personal information. The parties settled the dispute by way of a settlement agreement, whereby the complainant received financial compensation in exchange for releasing the retailer from liability.  The complainant subsequently filed a complaint with our Office, alleging that the retailer had failed to provide her with access to the personal information it held about her, in contravention of subsection 8(3) of PIPEDA and Principle 4.9 of Schedule 1 of PIPEDA.

In response to our investigation, the retailer provided our Office with a copy of a mutual release signed by both the complainant and the retailer, as part of the settlement of their litigation. The mutual release indicated, among other things, that the complainant released the retailer of all claims and complaints, including those arising under statute relating to or connected with any event, act or omission, prior to the date of the mutual release.

Discontinuance of Investigation

Following a review of the mutual release, our Office concluded that the complaint had been made in bad faith. This finding was based on the fact that the complainant had signed a mutual release agreeing to legally release the retailer from all past, present and future claims and complaints related to events, acts or omissions which occurred prior to the date of the mutual release, in exchange for financial compensation.

Based on this analysis, our Office discontinued the investigation of the complaint pursuant to paragraph 12.2(1)(b) of PIPEDA.

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