The case of Ferenczy vs. MCI Medical Clinics was a decision rendered in the Ontario Superior Court by Justice Dawson.
This case involves a patient named D. Ferenczy. She sued her doctor for professional negligence in the diagnosis and the treatment of a cyst located on the inner part of her left wrist. The procedure was carried out on February 17, 1999. The plaintiff, D. Ferenczy, claimed that as a result of the failed procedure, she was unable to hold small items for a long period of time with her left hand. She also claimed that she was unable to work and as a result, she suffered a loss of income.
The defendant, the doctor, disputed her claim. A private investigator was retained by the Canadian Medical Protective Association to dispute the credibility of the plaintiff’s evidence. The private investigator conducted a surveillance on Ms. Ferenczy and collected an eight minute video surveillance footage of Ms. Ferenczy holding a coffee cup at a coffee shop without any visible signs of physical impairment. This investigation was carried out without Ms. Ferenczy’s consent.
The Issue and Court Ruling:
Whether or not the video tape could be admitted as evidence against Ms. Ferenczy as the Counsel for Ms. Ferenczy argued that the taking of the video and its disclosure contravened the Personal Information and Protection of Electronics Act [PIPEDA], and therefore submitted the evidence rendered to be inadmissible.
The court ruled that the PIPEDA applies to personal information that is collected and disclosed for “commercial purposes”, and that defending a liability claim is not considered a commercial activity because the collection of the information is being used for the purposes of defending the doctor in a civil lawsuit. The court also ruled that the collection, use, and disclosure of the videotape would not contravene the PIPEDA on the basis that private investigators are acting as agents for their clients, and furthermore, Ms. Ferenczy implicitly consented to the collection of the videotape evidence when she filed the court action against the Defendant. Justice Dawson further ruled that the collection of the videotape is related to the investigation of a claim, and therefore ruled the videotape evidence tendered at trial be admissible.
Duncan Investigations Inc. is a licensed, bonded, private investigation firm in Manitoba. We conduct surveillance investigations for court purposes. We act on behalf of insurance companies, adjusters, corporations, businesses, associations, families and individuals.