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Double double trouble | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, August 05, 2022 @ 2:29 PM | By Marcel Strigberger

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Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
My bad. Here’s a glazed doughnut. All good?

Tim Hortons has reached a tentative agreement in class actions launched in Quebec, Ontario and B.C., alleging privacy violations in that its app tracked without their consent the whereabouts of zillions of its users from around April 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020. The settlement, still requiring court approval, is roughly in the amount of a coffee and a doughnut, per victim.

This is serious folks. I wonder how it all started. I can just imagine this breach coming to light and some guy in Chicoutimi says to himself, “Holy Moses. Tim Hortons now knows I went to Home Depot that day in December to buy that snowblower. They’ll pay for this.” (Originating from Quebec, I know he would use an expression or two other than holy Moses, but I leave those likely canonical related metaphors to the reader’s imagination).

I do suppose there would not have been much tracking success from March 2020 through September 2020. The best the snoop app could have done in this window was to catch Herbert from Huntsville going to the curb every Thursday and taking out his trash.

Halifax privacy lawyer David Fraser notes that the settlement may not seem like much, but it may be reasonable in the aggregate. That might make sense. I, for one, would be happy knowing that guy in Chicoutimi is getting a free doughnut. Yes!

Fraser notes that in this case you’re trying to compensate for the “feeling of ickiness,” someone might feel knowing their info was collected without their knowledge or consent.

Actually I like that term, ickiness. Will it soon enter the legal jargon? Will we see juries consider this in future as a head of damages?

“The jury’s award in this tort action is $22,000 for lost income, $15,000 for medical expenses and $50,000 for ickiness.” Go for it.

Do note that the pool of eligible recipients does not include customers outside Quebec, Ontario and B.C. What about the people in Alberta? First they get whacked in the development and management of their oil industry and now this. What a slap in the face. I would say lightning has struck twice. We are talking big time ickiness.

I did say the settlement is tentative in that the proposal requires court approval, firstly from the Quebec Superior Court scheduled to hear the matter in September. I wonder what that hearing will sound like? Will the judge focus on the product meticulously?

JUDGE: A coffee and a chocolate doughnut? … I don’t know. How about a maple pecan Danish?

Question counsel, does Tim Hortons also do poutine? I’ll hear more submissions after the recess. By the way, I’ll be having my coffee in the privacy of my chambers, from Starbucks.

And speaking of the lawyers, I do wonder how they will get paid? What will their cut be? I hope they have large freezers.

And once the settlement is approved, I understand customers would likely get a credit for the items with a coupon or via the Tim Hortons app. After what happened, if I was a beneficiary in the class action settlement, I don’t know if I’d be happy going the route of the app. To me that’s like the three little pigs agreeing to the wolf delivering to them the architectural plans to rebuild their houses.

In any event I am sure the three class actions will resolve quickly. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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