Court dismisses former Acadia prof’s lawsuit against school, orders him to pay $20K

Acadia University professor Rick Mehta is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Rick Mehta MANDATORY CREDIT

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has dismissed a former Acadia University professor’s lawsuit against the school and its faculty association and ordered him to pay them $10,000 each to cover their court costs.

The decision this week from Justice Ann Smith was critical of plaintiff Rakesh (Rick) Mehta, with the judge saying he seems to think he can abuse the court process with impunity.

Mehta represented himself when the case was heard on Jan. 24, and Smith said his position was “difficult to describe” but that he was asking for a payment of $50,000 in relation to a previous settlement, as well as additional compensation of $3 million.

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Mehta’s 2018 firing sparked a debate about free speech on campus because he had established a reputation for controversial opinions, such as calling multiculturalism a scam and saying the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a vehicle for “endless apologies and compensation.”

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Smith’s decision notes Mehta was awarded a $50,000 settlement by the university after he was dismissed, but an arbitrator ruled in
2019 Mehta had breached the settlement by publicly sharing some of its details, so the university was no longer obligated to pay him.

Smith’s decision says Mehta made several allegations in his statement of claim, including that he was fired based on the university’s opinions, but the claims did not fall under the jurisdiction of the court and hence they were dismissed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2022.

Click to play video: 'Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia'
Campus debate over free speech erupts in Nova Scotia

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