Blogger sued

Steelback Breweries CEO files suit against Ottawa sports blogger

Tobi Cohen, The Canadian Press

Published: Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TORONTO - The president of Steelback Brewery, based in Tiverton, Ont. has filed a $2 million lawsuit against an Ottawa-based blogger he claims repeatedly libelled him on his popular sports website.

Filed late last week in court in Newmarket, Ont., Frank D'Angelo alleges Neate Sager damaged his reputation and his image in comments posted on Sager's blog between August 2006 and January of this year.

In his statement of claim, D'Angelo argues that Sager's comments - which described D'Angelo as a "huckster" and a "two-bit shyster" - are derogatory in that they paint a picture of him as a "peddler," a "con man" and an "irritant."

The claim also says Sager called D'Angelo a "professional nuisance" and described his interest in acquiring the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins franchise as a "charade."

Sager, who also works as a copy editor at the Ottawa Sun, said he has yet to file a statement of defence and hopes to resolve the matter out of court.

"I am shocked this happened," said Sager, who several weeks ago revised some of the more contentious remarks on his blog, "Out of Left Field," at

"I'm still 100 per cent confident that reasonable people can find a reasonable solution to this and I just hope Mr. D'Angelo can sort of see that it's really kind of silly that it has come to this point."

The statement of claim argues the comments "severely damaged (D'Angelo's) credit, character and reputation" and that he was "brought into public scandal and contempt" as a result.

"The fact is that the conduct of the defendant in failing to remove the offending entries from his website, his failure to issue an apology and his public mockery of the notice letter has aggravated the damages suffered," the claim says.

"The defendant did not provide a balanced view and provided no opportunity to the plaintiff to respond to the aspersions made against him."

None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.

Contrary to the allegation that Sager provided D'Angelo no opportunity to respond, the website has a comment feature that allows readers to publicly share their own views and opinions, Sager said.

"Anyone can leave a comment there."

D'Angelo, an Ontario businessman who also owns a downtown Toronto restaurant as well as a brand of energy drink and a line of apple juice, says in the claim that he issued a notice letter to Sager back in February expressing his concern.

He argues Sager "promptly posted" the letter on his website and mocked its contents.

Sager "refused to remove the offending references" from his site and "revelled in the prospect of being pursued for damages for libel" for the "notoriety" and "attention" it brought him, the claim says.

D'Angelo did not return phone calls Monday.