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In a recent Ontario appeal decision, the court upheld a C$270,000 fine, despite the Ministry of Labour prosecutor and defence counsel agreeing that a C$180,000 fine would be appropriate. The case illustrates that, particularly in cases of serious injury to a worker which offends the court, there is always a risk that the court will impose a fine that is greater than the amount that the Ministry of Labour prosecutor wanted.
The Supreme Court of Canada has previously explained that legislatures may empower regulatory bodies to play a role in fulfilling the crown's duty to consult Aboriginal peoples. However, how that controlling law is to be applied by tribunals and by the courts of justice has been less clear. The Supreme Court recently issued two landmark crown consultation decisions, which provide meaningful guidance on when and how the crown may rely on regulatory processes to fulfil the duty to consult.
With a deadlocked board of directors, talk of a "public flogging" and a court reluctant to intervene, a recent British Columbia case is a colourful example of a requisitioned public company shareholders' meeting, with the twist that the requisitioning shareholders were represented by or aligned with three of the company's six directors. The decision provides a number of reminders for boards, shareholders and their advisers.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently considered a criminal negligence charge against a boom truck operator who pleaded guilty to an Occupational Health and Safety Act charge in a case involving a workplace fatality. The police's act of laying criminal charges after the operator had pleaded guilty constituted a breach of the sense of fair play, an act which offends the community. The court therefore stayed the criminal negligence charge, citing a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recently dismissed the crown's appeal of the acquittal of an employer in a case involving a worker who died of suffocation in a grain terminal. It found that while proof of an accident may be enough to establish the elements of the general charge that an employer failed to ensure the health and safety of an employee, where the crown has particularised a charge, it must prove all of the necessary elements.
The Supreme Court recently released a landmark decision reinforcing the right of employers to take proactive risk mitigation and management measures through alcohol and drug policies to ensure workplace safety. Employers can require employees to self-disclose substance abuse issues before workplace incidents and impose discipline for failure to comply, even if the employee suffers from a disability.
The Court of Appeal recently confirmed the ongoing gatekeeper function of trial judges in the context of expert testimony. A trial judge's role does not end after the preliminary threshold stage, but continues throughout the proceeding to protect the justice system's integrity. The concept of fairness is a hallmark of Canada's judicial system and necessary to maintain public confidence in the system. As was evidenced in this case, in the battle between efficiency and integrity, the latter must always prevail.
The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed its ability to award costs against lawyers. Despite the special role played by defence lawyers in criminal proceedings, the Supreme Court held that judges retain ultimate discretion to manage and control the proceedings before them. The court found that costs had been properly awarded against the lawyer in this case, as the circumstances were extreme and particularly reprehensible.
The propriety of a reply is measured against the other pleadings in a case. The Ontario Divisional Court recently delineated the proper scope of a reply when it overturned a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and granted the defendants' request to strike certain impugned paragraphs in the plaintiffs' reply that, on their face, had little to do with the central allegations of the claims and defences.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently held that damages for lost profits may be awarded where a partner is wrongfully expelled from the partnership, and that a court can award aggravated damages where the partner is expelled in bad faith. To expel a partner properly, the partnership must follow the terms of the partnership agreement, Ontario's Partnership Act and common law.
In the age of the Internet, the spectre of liability for libel hangs over many online users. At the click of a button, a person can re-tweet, re-transmit and disseminate libellous material, in a seemingly endless chain of liability. Courts are especially wary of internet libel and treat it as the most nefarious manifestation of defamation.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently disqualified a law firm from acting for one of its longstanding insurer clients in an insurance dispute where a lawyer who had assisted with carriage of the plaintiff's claim in the dispute moved his practice to the law firm representing the defendant insurer. While the decision is not apt to have an extensive impact on lawyers transferring between law firms and the clients involved, it does give law firms reason to pause.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently released an important decision regarding the law of social host liability in Ontario. The case is a wake-up call for social hosts – in particular, the parents of teenage children – who assume that they have no risk or exposure of liability if an intoxicated guest leaves their home and injures themselves or someone else.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently considered the scope of the courts' jurisdiction to order costs against a non-party and examined the statutory and inherent authority for making such orders. The decision is a sharp warning to those that seek to eschew personal responsibility for litigation misconduct and use a corporate entity in an attempt to insulate themselves from an adverse costs award.
In order to settle a class action, court approval is required. The court's role is to ensure that the settlement is in the best interests of the class as a whole. However, the courts may not have the benefit of a complete factual record before them. Consequently, courts have in the past placed a high degree of trust in class counsel. Recently, the courts have shifted away from blindly trusting class counsel's conclusions and are demanding counsel present transparent reasoning and evidence.
Court overturns C$125 million damages award based on extent of inadmissible hearsay evidence relied on by judgeCanada | March 28 2017
In May 2016 the Federal Court of Appeal overturned a judgment for C$125 million in damages and sent the case back to the trial judge for redetermination. The court concluded that the trial judge, in reaching his decision, may have relied on inadmissible hearsay evidence tendered at trial on behalf of the plaintiff. The judgment reviewed the general principles underlying the grave danger in admitting hearsay evidence at trial, particularly in high-stakes litigation between pharmaceutical drug companies.
We have all heard the expression 'wakey, wakey', but imagine representing a client who has waited years for his or her case to reach trial only to find out that the trial judge falls asleep from time to time. What obligations, if any, does counsel have to a client at trial when the trier of fact is 'asleep at the wheel'?
The Law Society Tribunal Appeal Division recently ordered the Law Society of Upper Canada to pay C$1.3 million in costs to two lawyers who were cleared of conflict of interest allegations in relation to their work for various Hollinger entities. This decision will affect both the Law Society's approach to professional misconduct hearings and the Law Society Tribunal's approach to costs.
A recent decision dealt with the issue of how a party to a civil action should proceed when seeking to use documents produced under compulsion when that party seeks to impeach a witness in a criminal case, against the background of the deemed undertaking which restricts the use of evidence disclosed in a civil action. The decision raises an interesting issue regarding delaying the timing of production of documents from a plaintiff in a civil action.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently affirmed that Ontario courts will not assume jurisdiction over a claim merely because Ontario is the only remaining forum available. The court held that the forum of necessity doctrine, an exception to the assumption of jurisdiction analysis previously set out by the Supreme Court of Canada, will not ordinarily apply to allow an Ontario court to assume jurisdiction over a matter where the limitation period in the proper forum has expired.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently reaffirmed the principle that a testifying expert enjoys immunity from a subsequent lawsuit arising out of the testimony that he or she has previously given in court. This decision is a welcome development for experts and a reminder to parties that a court facing diverging expert opinions must choose one expert's testimony over another without it necessarily being implied that the testimony of the unsuccessful party's expert was rendered negligently.
A divided Court of Appeal for Ontario recently granted certification to a global class of accredited investors in an auditor's liability claim, and held that there is no independent principle of restraint to which a court should adhere when certifying a global class. The decision creates a precedent for parties seeking to certify global class actions in Ontario, but will also limit the comfort that parties take in their certification decisions.
The Supreme Court recently issued two decisions on privilege – one on solicitor-client privilege and the other on litigation privilege. These two cases affirm that solicitor-client and litigation privilege do much more than just shield evidence from disclosure in adversarial civil proceedings and can be asserted in administrative or regulatory proceedings, including access to information requests and professional standards investigations.
It is not uncommon for defendants to assert the defences of collateral attack and issue estoppel in pleadings where it is considered that the plaintiff is intending to re-litigate a matter previously considered and disposed of by a court. Often untested, whether these are tenable defences is left undetermined, as plaintiffs rarely move to strike out portions of statements of defences pleading collateral attack and/or issue estoppel.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision ended a decade-old case in which the plaintiffs were ultimately saddled with having to pay a damages award of C$954,576 to the defendants. This case should encourage counsel and their parties to carefully ensure that any evidence put before the court has been tendered fairly and squarely.
A recent high-profile decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) involved an allegation by plaintiff Catalyst that the corporate defendant West Face Capital Inc misused confidential information belonging to Catalyst that defendant Moyse allegedly acquired while employed by Catalyst. The court considered whether spoliation had taken place and, if so, whether it should be recognised as an independent tort in Ontario.
On occasion, in response to a motion or claim by an adverse party seeking equitable relief, a party will argue that the relief sought should be denied on the basis that the moving party has not come to court with 'clean hands'. Lawyers should not be quick to use the doctrine unless there is a reasonable basis for doing so; however, it remains a powerful weapon.
The recent decision in Royal Bank of Canada v Boussoulas, as upheld by the Ontario Divisional Court, provides a valuable lesson to parties and their counsel who overstate or misstate their case in the context of seeking interlocutory equitable relief. The court was persuaded by the responding parties that the relief should be declined, as the moving party made numerous allegations of fraud that it did not make out or advance in oral argument.
The landmark case Baker v Canada established a test for procedural fairness with regard to judicial review of administrative decisions and addressed the fairness and disclosure to which an applicant is entitled in a proceeding. In light of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, it is timely to explore the intersection between the considerations of procedural fairness as imposed by Baker and allegations of procedural fairness and unfair investigations conducted by agencies with expertise.
In the wake of a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, non-Canadian publishers of online content may be required to defend defamation proceedings in Canadian courts, even if the bulk of their audiences are located outside Canada. The case sheds light on the complex and divisive jurisdictional issues that often accompany internet defamation proceedings.
A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision provides a helpful analysis of whether an action for negligent investigation, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in (abuse of) public office lies against a regulatory body and its investigatory staff. As regards the abuse of process doctrine, the court found that the disputed action was not an attempt to re-litigate a claim that had already been determined at a Law Society Appeal Division hearing and, as such, refused to dismiss the action on that basis.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed the discretionary power of superior court judges to sit outside their home province without a video link to an open courtroom in their home province. The decision clarifies an important point of procedure in pan-Canadian class actions – encouraging judges to employ pan-national solutions to ensure that the process works efficiently, expeditiously and cost effectively.
The Quebec Superior Court recently ruled on whether individuals of the Sikh religion could be exempted from a work policy that required all workers to wear a hardhat. The judge ruled that although the policy was discriminatory and violated the right to freedom of religion, it was justified given its imperative objectives. The decision is significant as it is a rare case of transposition of the protections granted under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to a federally regulated workplace.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision refusing leave to commence an action for secondary market misrepresentation under the Ontario Securities Act. The decision confirms that the test for leave in statutory secondary market claims must be viewed as a substantive hurdle to such claims and that judges considering a motion for leave must weigh and evaluate the evidence before them.
The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the primacy of professional secrecy under solicitor-client privilege in two cases considering the enforcement of disclosing accounting records to the Canada Revenue Agency. This provides welcome news for counsel acting for taxpayers, as well as international companies and companies involved in cross-border transactions.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision demonstrates the interrelated nature of cross-border class proceedings. Courts in both Canada and the United States may look to the substantive and procedural law in each jurisdiction when considering the conduct of class proceedings. In Canada, the existence of a foreign class action may be sufficient to stay Canadian claims, unless a plaintiff will be prevented from pursuing its substantive rights.
The Ontario Superior Court has implemented a formal protocol for notice to be provided to the media where a discretionary publication ban is sought in civil, criminal or family proceedings. Where a party intends to seek a discretionary publication ban, it must file a notice of request for the publication ban setting out the nature of the ban being sought, which will be made available to all media outlets included on a list maintained by the court.
A recent Supreme Court decision demonstrates that determining the last essential act to contract formation will not always be a clear-cut exercise, and that parties may seek to set out what the last essential act of contract formation is through the contract itself, in order to have some control over where the contract might later be found to have been made.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed that a judge's face is off limits as grounds for judicial bias. In a concise 20-paragraph endorsement, Justice Doherty put litigants on notice: they are not entitled to pick their judge and judges will not step aside when presented with specious bias claims, even when their physical appearance is under scrutiny.
Air carriers conducting flights into and out of Canada are subject to potential liability to passengers for any physical injury incurred while planing and deplaning or during flight. This liability was recently assessed in two cases in which the courts detailed the liability of air carriers to their passengers. International air carriers should consider adopting a number of key practices to reduce their exposure to potential liability to passengers or the Ministry of Transport.
A recent judgment by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta is noteworthy for its careful analysis of where political reporting may become the proper subject of a defamation action and its appraisal of significant damages for the ongoing online publication of the defamatory material. This case will be of particular interest to media organisations that are looking for guidance on how to respond to a latent defamation suit.
The widespread use of social media provides for the almost instantaneous dissemination of news and information to the public. The Ontario judiciary is grappling with the consequences of this and the impact on trial fairness – in particular, the balancing of a litigant's right to a fair trial with the public's right to freedom of expression. Where courts would historically have ordered a publication ban, more stringent confidentiality orders are now required.
In a recent and unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the broad immunities and privileges granted to the archives and personnel of the World Bank Group, and clarified Canada's domestic requirements for third-party production orders in the context of wiretaps used to intercept private communications.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently considered a motion to add the underwriters of a bought deal secondary public offering as defendants to a proposed securities class action lawsuit. The court clarified the nature and extent of underwriter liability, particularly in the context of primary and secondary market misrepresentation claims under the Ontario Securities Act.
Under the Federal Courts Act, a party may bring an application for review of a discretionary decision of a government board, commission or other tribunal. Generally, the application must be made within 30 days of the decision. The Federal Court recently dismissed a taxpayer's application for judicial review of a discretionary decision of the Canada Revenue Agency since the taxpayer had missed the 30-day deadline.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently dismissed two motions: one for leave under the Ontario Securities Act to commence an action for secondary market misrepresentation and one for certification to proceed as a class action under the Class Proceedings Act. In doing so, the court confirmed the close analytical relationship between requests for leave under the Ontario Securities Act and motions for class action certification under the Class Proceedings Act.
Fraudulent concealment is an equitable doctrine that, if proven, operates to toll the applicable limitation period until the plaintiff can reasonably discover his or her case. The jurisprudence relating to fraudulent concealment has remained relatively stable over the past three decades, following the Supreme Court of Canada's consideration of whether a limitation period defence can apply in light of an allegation of fraudulent concealment.
Buyer beware: Investment Canada Act does not prohibit disclosure of written undertakings by foreign investorCanada | March 22 2016
The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently addressed whether Section 36 of the Investment Canada Act protects a foreign investor that has entered into a settlement agreement with the minister of innovation, science and economic development from having to produce written undertakings contained in the settlement agreement in subsequent litigation.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its highly anticipated decision in a trilogy of shareholder class actions under the secondary market liability provisions of the Ontario Securities Act. At issue was whether the Class Proceedings Act suspends the limitation period applicable to a claim under the Ontario Securities Act when a plaintiff files a statement of claim or motion for leave, or whether it is suspended only once leave has been granted.
What constitutes a 'public correction' for the purpose of secondary market misrepresentation class actions?Canada | January 26 2016
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently considered, for the first time, what constitutes a public correction of an alleged misrepresentation in a secondary market securities class action. The decision clarifies that the public correction requirement's primary purpose is to serve as a "time-post" for the assessment of damages; it is not meant to be a significant hurdle to obtaining leave to bring an action for damages.
In the context of a prosecution of an environmental regulatory offence, the Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously held that a summons is considered properly served on an individual residing outside Canada if it is delivered by registered mail to the person's last known address abroad. The case confirms that service of a summons ex juris is expressly permitted under the Provincial Offences Act for both individuals and corporations.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently examined the issue of which province's law applies to a multi-jurisdictional sale of goods contract in which the parties themselves failed to address the matter in their agreement. The decision is significant because the court affirmed the longstanding choice of law test that focuses on which jurisdiction has the "closest and most substantial connection" to the contract.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision offers several lessons to litigants contemplating or currently engaged in forum non conveniens motions. Although they should not rely too heavily on this factor, owing to the principle of comity, parties opposing a stay of proceedings in Canada must, wherever possible, lead evidence as to the loss of juridical advantage that they would actually suffer should the matter be heard in the proposed alternative jurisdiction.
In the latest development in the Nortel insolvency proceedings, the Ontario Court of Appeal decided that the common law interest stops rule applies in proceedings under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. The interest stops rule requires that creditors' claims stop accruing interest from the date of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act filing. Accordingly, the appellant bondholders in Nortel were not entitled to claim interest accruing post-filing.
The Supreme Court recently released its highly anticipated decision in Yaiguaje v Chevron Corporation, favouring a relaxed approach to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Canada. The decision, which both clarifies and curtails jurisdictional defences available to judgment debtors whose assets or operations extend across multiple forums, further facilitates the enforcement of foreign judgments in Canada.
In the internet era written material can be distributed to a global audience via the Internet, but this communication technology is often matched by attendant risks. A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision acts as a warning for prudent publishers as it demonstrates that Canadian courts will not hesitate to require international publishers of online content to defend actions brought in Canada.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has dismissed the crown's appeal in Fairmont Hotels Inc v AG (Canada). On appeal, the crown argued that the lower court had misapplied the test for rectification because the parties had not determined the specific manner in which their intention to avoid tax would be carried out. The decision is an important affirmation of the result and reasoning in Juliar v AG (Canada).
Obtaining judgment against an adversary is the first and often most heavily contemplated step for litigators and litigants alike. However, equally important is a litigant's ability to enforce a judgment, particularly against a non-resident party. As Canada is a signatory to the Hague Convention, service of documents on a Canadian corporation or individual must comply with the convention's prescribed steps.
In Kruger Incorporated v The Queen the Tax Court held that the taxpayer could not value its foreign exchange options contracts on a mark-to-market basis, with the result that certain losses were not deductible by the taxpayer in a year. Kruger is another recent judgment of the Tax Court in the developing law on the Canadian tax treatment of financial derivative products.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that Section 225(4) of the Quebec Securities Act – requiring plaintiffs to show that their claims are brought in good faith and with a reasonable chance of success – is not an obstacle to obtaining court authorisation for an action against reporting issuers, directors, officers or experts for damages resulting from the acquisition or disposition of securities in the secondary market.
The Ontario Divisional Court recently rejected the notion that Ontario courts should treat plaintiffs and defendants differently when determining costs in cases that raise novel issues or matters of public interest. In doing so, the court disabused many of the assumption that in class proceedings, only unsuccessful plaintiffs may be relieved of their obligation to pay costs in appropriate circumstances.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently released two decisions concerning the admissibility of expert evidence. The decisions concerned the appropriate considerations in determining whether an expert witness is sufficiently independent and impartial, and whether the standards for admissibility of expert evidence should take into account the proposed expert's (alleged) lack of independence or bias.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in Carey v Laiken, restoring a finding of contempt against a lawyer that returned trust funds to his client in the face of a Mareva injunction. The decision reinforces the seriousness with which the courts view a breach of the terms of Mareva orders and highlights the available remedies for the court and aggrieved parties where parties do not comply with such orders.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has issued a decision which provides strong authority that a clearly worded verification requirement in an account operating agreement can be a complete defence to a claim for unauthorised transactions. Careful drafting is required, but a financial institution can limit its risk by clearly stating that it is the client's responsibility to inspect transaction records and report errors.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently examined whether participant experts and non-party experts could give opinion evidence without complying with Rule 53.03 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure. According to the court, Rule 53.03 does not apply where the expert has formed a relevant opinion based on personal observations or examinations relating to the subject matter of the litigation for a purpose other than the litigation.
In Parsons v Ontario, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that an Ontario Superior Court judge can preside at a hearing outside Ontario, provided that there is a video link back to an Ontario courtroom. By divided reasons the court upheld the decision of the motion judge that the court had the inherent jurisdiction to sit outside Ontario without violating the open court principle under Section 135 of the Courts of Justice Act.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently held that a foreign state seeking to set aside a default judgment against it should not be hindered by the State Immunity Act. The case provides useful insights to lawyers litigating disputes involving foreign states and the interpretation of the State Immunity Act, as well as those involved in appellate advocacy generally.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has released a decision which signals that judges ought to exercise their expanded summary judgment powers under the Rules of Civil Procedure where highly conflicting evidence in the written record makes a credibility assessment impossible. Although the court listed examples of the types of analysis that the motion judge was required to undertake, summary judgment will not require the same procedures in every case.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently held that certain record-keeping and disclosure requirements imposed on lawyers by anti-money laundering legislation offended the principle of fundamental justice, by effectively making lawyers "agents of the state". The court held that the provisions fell woefully short of protecting solicitor-client privilege.
In a recent case the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered applications from competing mortgagees to a property where the first charge had been discharged by fraud and subsequent mortgages were obtained. The court decided that although the subsequent mortgagees were innocent parties, unaware of the fraudulent discharge on the first mortgage, the first mortgagee was entitled to retain priority.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision considered an appeal of the dismissal of a proposed securities class action based on common law and statutory misrepresentation claims. The decision establishes that motion judges faced with a motion for leave to pursue a secondary market securities class action should take a hard look at the evidence, including expert evidence, on which the claim is based.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has held that a British Columbia superior court judge cannot preside at a hearing outside British Columbia. In so ruling the appeal court overturned a decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court, which had held that no constitutional principles or rules of law prevent a judge in British Columbia sitting outside the province.
The Supreme Court's recent decision in Bhasin v Hrynew recognised a new common law duty of honest performance applicable to all contracts, which requires the contracting parties to be honest with each other in relation to the performance of their contractual obligations. In its decision the Supreme Court sought to introduce clarity and coherence into this area of the law which it described as "piecemeal, unsettled and unclear".
The Supreme Court of Canada's recent Sattva decision is a watershed in the law of contractual interpretation. The court unanimously abandoned the historical approach to contract interpretation and determined that it now "involves issues of mixed fact and law as it is an exercise in which the principles of contract interpretation are applied to the words of the written contract, considered in light of the factual matrix".
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released a unanimous decision regarding multi-jurisdictional securities class actions. In Kaynes v BP, PLC, an Ontario shareholder alleged that BP, PLC had made misrepresentations to its shareholders regarding, among other things, the extent of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which negatively affected the price of its shares.
In yet another instalment of the long-running saga involving former media mogul Conrad Black, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) recently denied Black's motion to stay the OSC's proceeding against him involving allegations of securities fraud alleged to have been committed by Black as former chief executive officer of media company Hollinger Inc.
In Union Carbide Canada Inc v Bombardier Inc the Supreme Court of Canada recently considered whether a mediation contract with an absolute confidentiality clause displaced the common law settlement privilege and, more specifically, the exception to that privilege which enables parties to disclose evidence of confidential communications in order to prove the existence or terms of a settlement agreement.
The request to admit is an important tactical tool to narrow issues and streamline the lengthy trial process, as it provides a simplified format for the admission of facts. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has recently given new teeth to the rule by affirming that, in addition to potential costs consequences, an improper response to a request is also subject to interlocutory review.
In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered whether it had jurisdiction over a claim against a foreign defendant. The court assumed jurisdiction notwithstanding that there was no connection between the defendant and Ontario other than the plaintiff's statutory cause of action for secondary market misrepresentation under Ontario's Securities Act.
A person dealing with a corporation need not inquire about the formality of the internal proceedings of the corporation, but is entitled to assume that there has been compliance with the articles of association and bylaws. This principle, known as the 'indoor management rule', was authoritatively laid down in Royal British Bank v Turquand and eventually codified into law. It is based on principles of fairness and practicality.
Five decisions have been released that address legal principles relating to awards of costs on class action certification motions cases. The cases send a clear message to the class action bar: "Access to justice, even in the very area that was specifically designed to achieve this goal, is becoming too expensive."
Lawyers providing investment advice or services to clients may find themselves unprotected against claims arising out of these services. A recent court decision serves as an important reminder to review insurance policies for coverage and exclusions carefully, or face potentially significant financial consequences if coverage is not extended.
All jurisdictions in Canada are 'costs jurisdictions', meaning that the losing party in a lawsuit must generally pay a portion of the legal costs of the successful party. Fortunately, the courts in each jurisdiction allow the defendant to bring a motion for security for costs, which prevents the plaintiff from continuing to advance its claim until it posts security to satisfy a potential adverse costs award.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has addressed the jurisdiction of Ontario courts to recognise and enforce foreign judgments. The decision is important because it indicates that enforcement actions can proceed in Ontario to recover from uninvolved Canadian subsidiaries of foreign corporate wrongdoers.
It is not uncommon for a plaintiff to misname a defendant in a statement of claim. Typically, if the plaintiff has served the claim on the correct defendant, the parties acknowledge the error and move on with the litigation. However, the failure to name the correct defendant may have prejudicial consequences, especially if the limitation period for bringing an action to advance the claim has expired.
The test to prove the unlawful means tort has been highly debated over the last decade in Canada. More specifically, courts have long struggled to define the 'unlawful means' element of the tort and the area of law has been described as a "mess". However, a recent court decision provides clarity on the scope of the unlawful means element.
After becoming the custodian of a company in receivership, a court-appointed receiver may face lawsuits of varying degrees of merit. However, court-appointed receivers receive a measure of protection by virtue of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which provides that no proceeding may be commenced against an official receiver or interim receiver without first obtaining leave of the court.
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision will have major implications on the practice of lawyers reviewing draft expert reports. As a medical malpractice case in which liability was determined primarily on issues of standard of care and causation, it is perhaps most important for the court's pronouncement that: "Discussions or meetings between counsel and an expert to review and shape a draft expert report are no longer acceptable"
The Court of Appeal for Ontario recently addressed the issue of when the limitation period begins to run for an anticipatory breach of contract. Its decision provides an answer to the ongoing debate of whether the limitation period will commence as soon as the defendant indicates that it will breach a future obligation under a contract or when it actually fails to perform the obligation.
An Ontario court will readily exercise its discretion to refuse the enforcement of a letter rogatory application if it determines that the application is nothing more than a fishing expedition by a foreign litigant into Canadian waters. Local counsel play a critical role in satisfying the court that a letter rogatory should be enforced or resisted, as the case may be. There are several practical tips which they should bear in mind when doing so.
Experts have been accused of being 'hired guns' – expected to exaggerate, engage in advocacy or otherwise be a 'jukebox' and play any tune they are paid for. The courts have resolved issues of bias, impartiality and independence under the relevance component of Mohan where there is proof of actual bias or partiality. However, recently the courts have struggled where there is a perceived lack of independence.
Recent decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada constitute a watershed moment in competition law in particular, and class proceedings in general. Indirect purchasers – that is, consumers who did not purchase products directly from the price fixer, but who purchased them indirectly from a reseller or other intermediary – have a right of action against the alleged price fixer at the top of the distribution chain.
A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision confirms that overlapping class members in parallel class proceedings will not be permitted to benefit from settlement in one jurisdiction while continuing to participate in the litigation vagaries in another, and that parties seeking leave to appeal from an interlocutory order are faced with a challenging task, especially in the context of class proceedings.
The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of restrictive covenants contained in a commercial agreement for the sale of a business against a vendor who had become an employee of the purchaser after the sale. The decision indicates that where restrictive covenants are linked to a commercial rather than an employment agreement, the courts will show deference to the commercial bargain struck by the vendor and purchaser.
Buyers and sellers of businesses in Canada should be aware of an established body of case law in respect of non-compete clauses. In connection with the sale of a business in Canada, such a clause operates largely to protect the purchaser. In a recent decision the Supreme Court underscored its contextual and pragmatic approach to the interpretation of non-compete agreements.
In a recent decision the Federal Court of Appeal invoked the Montreal Convention, holding that passengers of international air carriers are not permitted to claim for damages or other remedies under domestic statutes if the harm arose in the course of international air travel. The court made clear that the limits on liability prescribed by the Montreal Convention bar claims made under domestic laws in virtually all cases.
In Sable Offshore Energy Inc v Ameron International Corp the Supreme Court of Canada held that the settlement amounts contained in Pierringer agreements need not be disclosed to the remaining non-settling defendants in multi-party disputes. The decision is significant because the Supreme Court adopted a robust application of settlement privilege as it relates to the quantum of settlement.
The Supreme Court recently provided clarity in two leading employment class action cases for unpaid overtime. Two of Canada's largest and most prominent banks had sought leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decisions to certify class action lawsuits against them. The Supreme Court's decision denied such leave; as a result, the two class actions will proceed to trial and will be decided on their merits.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently recognised the conditional settlement of a US class action, which had been approved by a US court, and granted an order to amend the class definition in the parallel Ontario class proceedings by excluding those persons that had been included in the US settlement. This decision will likely have important implications for litigants involved in parallel class actions in multiple jurisdictions.
The Federal Court of Appeal recently handed down its decision in Murphy v Amway Canada Corporation, affirming the Federal Court's decision and declining jurisdiction to hear a motion to certify a class action in respect of the Competition Act, given the parties' binding arbitration agreement and class action waiver. This decision saw the enforcement of both a binding arbitration agreement and a class action waiver.