Zeke maintains status quo in court

Chris Hand, the Zeke behind Zeke’s Gallery, spent most of today in the Palais de Justice with his lawyer and mother. At issue was an injunction which stops Hand from making specific statements about Pierre-Antoine Tremblay, an art dealer who is suing him for libel.

After hearing about an hour’s worth of arguments from both sides, the judge has ordered a renewal of the existing injunction against Hand, but without changes asked by the plaintiff (those seemed centred around preventing Hand from using other media to make statements against Mr. Tremblay). The injunction prohibits Chris Hand from saying that Pierre-Antoine Tremblay is associated with Frank Martorana and the mafia, or that he tried to sell fake paintings to Loto-Quebec. Both statements Tremblay’s lawyer says are entirly false.

The injunction lasts until Sept. 6, 2007, when further hearings will take place on this matter.

Among other things of note:

  • Tremblay wasn’t present in court.
  • Tremblay and his lawyer have increased their monetary demands. What was once $25,000 is now $60,000.
  • Hand was barely recognizable. His hippie haircut has been replaced with a professional-looking crewcut. He sat well-behaved in a suit (no tie) and didn’t bite the head off even one chicken throughout the proceedings.
  • The proceedings were held entirely in French, except for what was read from blog posts and newspaper articles.
  • From the plaintiff’s lawyer: “Comment ça se dit en français ‘quack’?” Hand’s mother tried to explain before Chris cut her off and explained that she’s helping opposing council.
  • Legal chit-chat between the lawyers and court reporter are always cute. They talk about the temperature of the drinking water in the courtroom, or what lawyer was at which firm when, or about the noise of construction on the floors above them.
  • Shout-outs to Montreal Tech Watch and Hou-Hou Blog whose posts were used in evidence by the plaintiff. No mention of my huge post, but my article did get quoted so I won’t complain.
  • Both lawyers were very effective at pleading their case. The plaintiff’s arguments boiled down to the fact that this is a very specific injunction (the facts of the libel case weren’t argued today), that Hand is using other media (Yahoo! Groups, other blogs, personal communication at YULblog meetings) to repeat the same allegedly libellous claims, and that Zeke’s Gallery is in competition with Tremblay’s Galerie 2000 (a claim Chris calls an exaggeration).
  • There are still three related cases pending. All have been postponed to Sept. 6:
    • The injunction preventing Hand from making these statements about Tremblay
    • A contempt of court charge for allegedly ignoring the previous injunction
    • The libel case itself
  • Tremblay’s lawyer said outright that the paintings sold to Loto-Quebec were not forged. This is the first complete denial of this charge I’ve heard. The out-of-court settlement between Tremblay and Loto-Quebec is secret, but I’d love to find out what the real story is behind it.
  • The Zeke’s Gallery blog remains effectively shut down. Hand isn’t sure if he’ll bring it back, even if he ends up winning the case.

9 thoughts on “Zeke maintains status quo in court

  1. John Shearer

    Thanks for posting the coverage of Zeke’s case.
    For the plaintiff to argue that “..Zeke’s Gallery is in competition with Tremblay’s Galerie 2000” is complete nonsense. Zeke’s Gallery exhibitions are first time shows for young artists and are held in a sparse and humble space while gallery 2000 is a glitzy commercial dealer selling art to “investors” and tourists. Chris is a decent guy trying his best with limited means to support not only young artists but also getting the word out on the net about original Canadian art. It’s truly a shame this situation may end Zeke’s blog and even his gallery, it would be a real loss to the art community.
    John Shearer

  2. Cedric Caspesyan

    Thanks for the cover up. I’m so naive, I didn’t know Tremblay owned Galerie 2000, I thought he only worked for them or something. This is the sort of kitsch commercial galleries that sell art like if it was decorative bibelots, I would never set my foot in those places, but I’m surprised that some artists who have been vehemently political in the past are sold by this gallerist. Personally from now on I’m blacklisting ANY artist co-operating with Tremblay. >:-} End of story.

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  4. nathan

    What can we do to help? Does Chris need cash for lawyers? Do you think further publizising the case help or hinder Chris’ chances against this SOB Pierre-Antoine Tremblay?

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  6. Scott Morgan

    Thanks for the update. I am shocked to see how far the plaintiff has gone for the original, seemingly silly posting. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that Mr. Hand is finally getting caught for his loose lips and unfounded claims he regularly posted. His website regularly dealt in slander and pointed, unresearched misinformation: things like the Canada Council funding artists and projects they hadn’t, while actually giving names of the innocent civil servants “responsible” for these atrocities. Libel is simple–what you write about people has to be verifiable. Mr. Hand has played fast and loose with this for years as a provocateur, and yes, has damaged or undermined people’s work and reputations. This is now catching up with him–even if in this present case these legal moves seem over blown.


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