NewLeaf launches defamation lawsuit against airline-passenger advocate

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NewLeaf launches defamation lawsuit against airline-passenger advocate – Jul 30, 2016

WINNIPEG — NewLeaf Travel is taking the offensive against what it calls “an unrelenting, aggressive and malicious attack” on social media, led by one of its biggest detractors.

The Winnipeg-based air travel service is suing Gabor Lukacs, an airline passenger and consumer advocate, who runs Twitter and Facebook pages under “Air Passenger Rights”. The company accuses Lukacs of defamation, injurious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations.

Global News acquired the statement of claim filed by NewLeaf against Lukacs.

It cites a number of social media posts, listed with the hashtags “#Dont#GoNewLeaf”. The account launches claims, including one that said “NewLeaf owes over $130K in unpaid bills according to several consultants who contacted us. Tell NewLeaf to pay its bills #Dont#GoNewLeaf”

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NewLeaf Travel, in a partnership with Kelowna B.C.-based Flair Air, resells and charters flights through the airline. It has billed itself as a low-cost carrier and as an alternative to major airlines Air Canada and WestJet.

NewLeaf has also encountered a number of controversies, including a Canadian Transportation Agency review of its licence, which delayed its official launch by several months.

In a statement provided to Global News, Jim Young, President and CEO of NewLeaf Travel said his company launched the suit due to criticism that “crosses the line and provides statements of fact which are incorrect or correct facts which are utilized and converted to unsupported theories and conjecture, NewLeaf Travel Company must take steps to protect its public image.”

Lukacs was reached for comment but said he has not been served with any court documents to date.

“[NewLeaf’s lawyer] did not mention any lawsuit against me, which makes me wonder about the whole affair,” Lukacs said in a written statement.
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He added, “I cannot comment on a lawsuit that I have not been served with, and I do not think it would be appropriate for me to speculate.”

NewLeaf, however, disputes Lukacs’s claims and said he has been notified of legal action against him.

“[Lukacs] has yet to respond to the NewLeaf Travel Company lawsuit which was sent to the same email address he is utilizing to respond to his federal court matters,” the statement read.

NewLeaf adds it delivered a second claim on July 26, 2016.