BENNETT Defends its Reputation
Oakville, Ontario, October 17, 2002 – Bennett Environmental Inc., a North American
leader in the high temperature treatment of contaminated soils, currently applying to
locate a thermal oxidizer in Kirkland Lake to treat contaminated soils, has launched a
multi-million dollar libel action against a Brampton company that produced a report
dealing with the proposed facility.
Named in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice suit are BEAK Management Consulting,
BEAK International Incorporated and Mr. Peter Nicoll, Vice President, Health, Safety
and Environment Strategy of BEAK, also author of the said report.
In the suit, filed October 17, 2002, BENNETT claims that Nicoll, at a press conference in
Toronto on August 8, 2002 used “false, malicious and libellous” words to describe
BENNETT Environmental and its proposed incinerator project.
In the initial statement of claim BENNETT has filed for libel, malicious falsehood,
aggravated damages and punitive damages. This does not include “special damages”
which will be specified before trial. The Company also notes that it has “suffered
damage to its reputation and stock value,” as a result of the BEAK report. The
Company is also seeking costs.
Danny Ponn, Chief Operating Officer at BENNETT’s head office in Oakville, said the
Company has been trying to get a copy of the body of the report from BEAK for review.
“We do not believe that Beak’s conclusions were scientifically justified and should be
withdrawn. We were left with no alternative but to pursue this matter in the courts,” said
Ponn. “BEAK was claiming to have conducted a “semi quantitative screening
assessment” of our proposal, but we know they could not have the information to come
to the strong conclusions that they arrived at. They released two pages of a 34-page
document and refused to make public the balance of their report so we could respond to
what they were talking about.”
Company founder and CEO John Bennett said he regretted having to take the matter to
court but “there comes a time when you have to defend your reputation. Our Company
has an excellent track record in cleaning up the environment,” said the CEO. “We are
confident that our technology does not pollute and we have decided that we will defend
our reputation and our credibility as vigorously as we can. We will not allow ourselves
to be smeared”.
Ponn noted that “people have the right to protest and to voice their opinion against any
project they may not want in their area, but that does not mean you can say anything
you want without having to justify it. It is also a totally different matter when a company
with scientific expertise generates a report that is not scientifically justified.
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