The company that printed the Vancouver Pride Society’s (VPS) 2012 Pride guide is suing WE Vancouver (formerly the Westender) for $25,000, alleging the weekly newspaper fraudulently secured ads by misrepresenting itself to potential advertisers as the publisher of this year’s Official Pride Guide.
Blueline Printing, which does business as Minuteman Press, says it signed an exclusive contract with the VPS to publish its guide in May 2012.
Minuteman’s lawsuit follows one filed in July by the VPS, which accuses WE of acting “with great malice aforethought causing us to suffer significant financial losses in the form of advertising sales for the legitimate ‘Official Vancouver Pride Guide.’”
WE Vancouver has denied the VPS’s allegations and asked the court to dismiss the case.
In its statement of defence, WE says it wasn’t notified until June 7 that it had lost the contract to publish the VPS’s guide. Once it found out the guide would be printed elsewhere, WE claims it took “all reasonable steps” to dissociate itself from the VPS’s Pride guide and ceased “making any reference, either impliedly or expressly, to being the ‘official Vancouver Pride Guide’ or being the ‘Vancouver Pride Guide;’ making any reference to being the ‘9th Annual Pride Guide;’ trading on its past contractual relationship with Vancouver Pride; using any Vancouver Pride logo.”
In its statement of claim filed in small claims court on Aug 16, Minuteman alleges that emails between the VPS and WE show the newspaper knew it no longer had the contract in April.
“The claims made by the defendant’s lawyers is inconsistent with the emails where the defendant acknowledges they do not have a current contract on April 24 and excuse their fraudulent misrepresentation as the work of a misinformed freelance employee respectively,” Minuteman states.
Minuteman says it was informed by a third party on June 7 that WE had solicited an ad for the “Official Pride Guide.”
“We performed our due diligence by confirming with the VPS that we held the exclusive contract for the ‘Official Pride Guide.’ To this, the VPS was able to produce an email chain from Ms Gail Nugget [Nugent], employed as the Advertising Manager for the defendant,” Minuteman says in its statement of claim.
Minuteman summarizes the chain as “an acknowledgment from the defendant that they did not hold a current contract, an invitation from the VPS to submit a proposal, and a request from the defendant for an immediate meeting stating ‘Advertising revenues are down’ with regards to their other revenue streams.’”
Minuteman claims it also has two emails from community members who contacted WE employees with respect to the “Official Pride Guide” after July 10.
“In neither instance did the defendant correct or inform the community member that they had no affiliation with the Official Pride Guide. The defendant was thereby trading on its past contractual relationship with the VPS and their carefully planned scheme of misrepresentation,” Minuteman alleges, “further depriving us recognition, and thereby circulation, as the legitimate publishers of the Official Pride Guide.”
Minuteman also claims that several locations advertised as “Official Vancouver Pride Guide pick-up centres” had already received a delivery of “Official Pride Guides” when Minuteman’s distribution team arrived.
“Upon further inspection, we discovered the defendant, alleging their Pride Guide was the ‘Official Pride Guide,’ made the delivery two days prior to our advertised delivery date,” Minuteman alleges in its statement of claim.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.