Fork In the Road: Critical Considerations by Condominium Corporations in Anticipatory Failed Closings

Mahdi Hussein, B.A. (Hons.), JDAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Contracts, Condo Construction, Condo Litigation, Contract Disputes, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

In 1179 Hunt Club Inc. v. Ottawa Medical Square Inc., 2019 ONCA 700, the purchasers, Ottawa Medical Square Group, entered into an Agreement for Purchase and Sale to purchase condominium units owned by the vendor, 1179 Hunt Club Inc. The value of the commercial condominium units in the Hunt Club Project was $5.6 million dollars. Five days before closing, the purchasers, sent a request to the vendor, requesting an extension of time as the purchasers had not yet finalized their arrangements for financing. Three days before closing, the vendor advised that it would insist on closing, and if the purchaser could not close, it would exercise its rights and remedies under the Agreement for Purchase and Sale. On the date of closing, the vendor learned that the Land Registry Office had made an error in assigning parcel identification numbers. Although this error was ameliorated later that day, this mishap, prevented … Read More

Guidance from the Court – Procedure to Resolve Mortgage Discharge Issues under the Mortgages Act and the Rules of Civil Procedure

Mahdi Hussein, B.A. (Hons.), JDAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

In Sub-Prime Mortgage Corporation v. 1219076 Ontario Limited, 2019 ONCA 581, the Ontario Court of Appeal was asked to determine, the proper procedure to discharge a mortgage or contest the discharge of a mortgage, under the Mortgages Act, and the Rules of Civil Procedure. In the lower court decision, Sub-Prime Mortgage Corporation (“Sub Prime”), the second mortgagee, issued two urgent applications against 1219076 Ontario Limited (“121”), the first mortgagee, to obtain an immediate discharge of two mortgages on two properties placed by 121, by paying money into court, pending further court orders, or a resolution between the parties, at para 1. In its application, Sub-Prime did not specifically seek an order determining the balance owing for each mortgage. To support its application, Sub-Prime cited and relied on section 12(3), 12(9) and 22 of the Mortgages Act, R.S.O. and Rule 14.05(a), (d), and (e) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, at para … Read More

24 the New 36? Court of Appeal Reaffirms Presumptive Ceiling in Reasonable Notice Case

Mahdi Hussein, B.A. (Hons.), JDAppeals, Employment, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

In Dawe v. The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that, absent exceptional circumstances, the presumptive ceiling for reasonable notice is 24 months. In Dawe, the plaintiff was a Senior Vice President of an insurance company and was terminated after 37 years of employment without cause, following a minor dispute relating to the purchase and use of promotional sporting event tickets. As a result, the plaintiff sued his employer for wrongful dismissal. Both the plaintiff and his employer moved for partial summary judgment on two issues: (1) the calculation of the proper notice period, and (2) the plaintiff’s entitlement to his employer’s bonus plan, at para 4. The plaintiff was successful on the motion for partial summary judgment and the motion judge determined that 30 months was the appropriate notice period and that the plaintiff was entitled to his bonus during this period. In … Read More

Obiter or Not? A Refresher from the Ontario Court of Appeal

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Civil Litigation0 Comments

The recent case of The Catalyst Capital Group Inc. v VimpelCom Ltd., 2019 ONCA 354 [Catalyst], serves as a reminder that a court’s finding will not be considered obiter simply because there was another sufficient basis for the court’s decision. The Rule of Precedent The rule of precedent requires that courts render decisions that are consistent with the previous decisions of higher courts [Canada (AG) v Bedford, 2012 ONCA 186]. There are several well-known rationales for the rule: it promotes consistency, certainty and practicability in the law, sound judicial administration, and it enhances the legitimacy and acceptability of the common law [David Polowin Real Estate Ltd. v Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co., 2005 ONCA 21093]. Ratio vs Obiter The traditional dichotomy of ratio decidendi (“ratio”) and obiter dicta (“obiter”) is important for the scope of the rule.  Only the ratio is binding on a subsequent court.  Ratio refers to … Read More

Arbitration Clauses Enforced as Non-Consumers Ejected from Telus Class Action by Supreme Court of Canada

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Arbitration, Commercial and Contract Litigation0 Comments

In Telus Communications Inc. v Wellman, 2019 SCC 19, the Supreme Court of Canada has favoured arbitration clauses in staying the claims of non-consumers in a class action against TELUS. The Court’s decision reflects a continued commitment of courts to taking a hands-off approach in upholding valid arbitration agreements, while its citation of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Uber decision indicates that other routes – such as unconscionability – may be pursued to challenge specific arbitration clauses. Facts A proposed class action was filed in Ontario alleging that TELUS had for a number of years rounded up calls to the next minute without telling customers. The class included both consumers and non-consumers (business customers).  Each individually agreed to the same non-negotiable standard form contract.  The contract included an arbitration clause requiring all disputes (other than collection of accounts by TELUS) to be mediated, and failing that, arbitrated. Ontario’s Consumer Protection … Read More

Ontario Court of Appeal: There is No Common Law Tort of Harassment

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation0 Comments

Merrifield v Canada (Attorney General), 2019 ONCA 205 is the first case in which a Canadian appellate court has been required to determine whether a common law tort of harassment exists. The Ontario Court of Appeal has decided that it does not. Ontario Superior Court of Justice Relying on four trial-level decisions, the trial judge held that the tort of harassment exists as a cause-of-action in Ontario and that the elements of the tort are: Outrageous conduct; Intention to cause, or reckless disregard for causing, emotional distress; Suffering of severe or extreme emotional distress; and The outrageous conduct is the actual and proximate cause of the emotional distress. Ontario Court of Appeal The Ontario Court of Appeal held that, in sum, the four trial-level decisions assume rather than establish the existence of the tort or its elements. Contrasting the case at bar with Jones v Tsige, which recognized a new … Read More

Tests for Intentional Infliction of Mental Suffering and Constructive Dismissal clarified by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Colistro v Tbaytel

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Civil Litigation, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

In Colistro v Tbaytel, 2019 ONCA 197, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently dismissed an appeal and cross-appeal in an employment dispute. Appeal: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Suffering In the appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that three elements comprise the tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering: Flagrant or outrageous conduct; Calculated to produce harm; and Resulting in a visible and provable illness. Objective vs Subjective Following its earlier decisions in Prinzo v Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and Piresferreira v Ayotte, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that the first and third element are objective, while the second is subjective. The Court held that the second element requires the plaintiff to prove that “the defendant must have intended to produce the kind of harm that occurred or have known that it was almost certain to occur” [Boucher v Wal-Mart Canada Corp.].  It is insufficient to show only … Read More

Employee or Not? An Uber Problem to be Decided by Ontario Courts: Arbitration Not the Route

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAppeals, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Contract Disputes, Employment0 Comments

In its first reported decision of the year, the Ontario Court of Appeal has allowed a proposed class action against Uber to proceed in Ontario court. Facts The Appellant commenced a proposed class action in January 2017. They sought, among other things, a declaration that Uber drivers are employees of Uber and governed by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act [“ESA”], as well as $400 million in damages payable to the class for alleged Uber violations of ESA provisions.  Prior to certification, Uber brought a motion to stay the proceeding, requesting the court to enforce a clause in the agreement that requires all disputes to be arbitrated in Amsterdam according to the law of the Netherlands. Ontario Superior Court of Justice The motion judge held that the arbitration clause was enforceable and stayed the action.  Applying the Supreme Court of Canada’s Seidel decision and the Ontario Court of Appeal’s TELUS ruling, the motion … Read More

Gilbertson Davis LLP Successfully Defends Against Appeal of Decision Enforcing Liquidated Damages in Settlement Contract

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Fraudulent Schemes, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Investment Fraud, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Haas v. Viscardi, 2019 ONCA 133, Andrew Ottaway of Gilbertson Davis LLP assisted the plaintiff in securing his settlement agreement with a defendant (in an earlier investment fraud litigation) with a liquidated damages clause.  Specifically, the defendant was required to pay $60,000 if he failed to make prompt payments under the subject settlement agreement. The defendant, after defaulting, refused to honour the liquidated damages clause.  However, on the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, the motion judge upheld the liquidated damages clause and granted judgment.  Our blog post on the motion decision can be found here. On appeal, in Haas v. Viscardi, 2019 ONCA 133, the Court of Appeal rejected the defendant’s argument that the liquidated damages clause was an unenforceable penalty clause, and upheld the motion judge’s decision granting summary judgment.  The Court of Appeal also enforced the provision in the settlement agreement requiring that the defendant pay the plaintiff’s … Read More

Court of Appeal Upholds Dismissal of Recognition Action Based on Limitation Period

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Injunction & Specific Performance, Mareva Injunction, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Grayson Consulting Inc. v. Lloyd, 2019 ONCA 79, the plaintiff obtained default judgment in South Carolina dated August 20, 2014 default judgment in the amount of US $451,435,577.37 against the defendant.   The plaintiff sought a Mareva injunction (i.e. a freezing order). Although the Court initially granted the injunction, the Court later set aside the injunction in response to the defendant’s motion arguing that the Ontario proceedings were commenced outside the limitation period.  See our blog on the motion decision here. On appeal, the Court of Appeal reiterated the applicable test from Independence Plaza 1 Associates, L.L.C. v. Figliolini, 2017 ONCA 44, being: (i) the basic two-year limitation period applies to a proceeding on a foreign judgment; and (ii) the limitation period begins to run when the time to appeal the foreign judgment has expired or, if an appeal is taken, the date of the appeal decision, unless the claim … Read More

Summary Judgment Motion Publication: Sentinels of the Hryniak Culture Shift: Four Years On

John L. Davis, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Liability, Commercial Litigation, Fraud Recovery, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Summary Judgment0 Comments

David Alderson, Senior Counsel-Commercial Litigation at Gilbertson Davis LLP, is the author of the chapter entitled Sentinels of the Hryniak Culture Shift: Four Years On, included in the Annual Review of Civil Litigation 2018 , (Ed. by the Honourable Justice Todd L. Archibald, published by Thomson Reuters Canada Limited) a copy of which can be accessed here, and which contains the following in the Overview: “Mr. Alderson has done a masterful job in reviewing the post-Hryniak judgment landscape. He canvasses whether or not our courts have embraced the advocated Hryniak culture shift in civil litigation through the simplification of pre-trial procedures and the principle of proportionality. Before embarking upon a summary judgment motion, all counsel should carefully read Mr. Alderson’s paper because it provides superb guidance concerning the prospects of success not only before the motions judge but on appellate review. Mr. Alderson’s paper is a comprehensive tour de force for all advocates.” –  The Hon. Justice Todd Archibald, Ontario Superior Court of … Read More

Supreme Court Considers an ISP’s Right to Costs in Norwich Orders for Copyright Infringement

Peter Neufeld, B. Soc. Sc., J.D.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Copyright Infringement, Intellectual Property, Norwich Order0 Comments

Norwich Orders have become a common tool to detect wrongdoers hiding behind the elusive veil of the internet. Whether the matter is with respect to defamation, intellectual property infringement, or fraud, the equitable remedy of pre-action discovery to compel Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to disclose a wrongdoer’s identity can help claimants determine their causes of action before they commence litigation. A question that has been raised, however, is who bears the costs of the Norwich Order? Is it the claimant seeking the Norwich Order or the ISP subject to the equitable remedy? To complicate the matter further, how does this interact with an ISP’s obligations under the “notice and notice” regime pursuant to Canada’s Copyright Act? By way of background, ss. 41.25 and 41.26 of the Copyright Act govern the statutory “notice and notice” regime for alerting alleged copyright infringers in Canada. These sections under the Copyright Act state that … Read More

The Ontario Securities Commission and the “Active Market”

Peter Neufeld, B. Soc. Sc., J.D.Administrative Law, Appeals, Business Law, Business Litigation, Class Action Defence, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Finance Litigation, Investment | Financial Services, Professional Liability, Professional Services, Professions, Securities Litigation, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Determining what constitutes an “active market” for securities can have significant implications for Investment Dealers, Approved Persons, and other market participants facing civil lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny.  Such a determination provides ample assistance to investors seeking to quantify damages allegedly sustained through (1) misrepresentations in a company’s financial documents or (2) the negligence of their financial advisors. In Sutton (re), 2018 ONSEC 42, however, the failure to show an active market for securities proved devastating to the defence of a Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) in charge of pricing those securities. Background  As CFO of First Leaside Securities Inc. (“FLSI”), Brian Sutton’s (“Mr. Sutton”) position required him to assess the price of certain unlisted securities (“Fund Units”) issued by three limited partnerships (“Funds”). In pursuit of meeting these obligations,  Mr. Sutton relied on the Fund Units’ allegedly active market to ascribe an appropriate price. The Industry Investment Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) … Read More

#MeToo – The Assessment of Damages in Sexual Assault Cases

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Negligence, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released the decision in Zando v. Ali, 2018 ONCA 680, which involved an appeal of an assessment of damages in a sexual assault case.  This case confirms the principles to be used in determining damages in civil sexual assault cases and is particularly relevant in the current climate of the #MeToo movement. In this case, the parties were physicians and colleagues at the Sarnia General Hospital.  They had initially met after their residency examination in Toronto and became friends.  They were both married and had immigrated from Pakistan.  After completing their respective training elsewhere, they both ended up practicing medicine at the Sarnia General Hospital. The respondent alleged that the appellant sexually assaulted her on June 22, 1999 at her house.  The appellant had attended her house to complete an insurance medical form.  After completing the insurance form, the respondent alleged that the appellant took his clothes off, tripped her to the floor and sexually assaulted her. The trial … Read More

An Uber Quick Ride in Oshawa (City) v Greaves

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAdministrative Law, Appeals, By-laws, Judicial Review0 Comments

What is the definition of a taxi ride? A version of this question recently arrived at the Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa (City) v Greaves. An Oshawa by-law makes it illegal to operate a taxicab without a valid license.  Last year, as part of a project concerning unlicensed taxicabs, a municipal by-law officer ordered an Uber in Oshawa.  When the Uber arrived at the requested location, the driver found himself collecting a by-law infraction charge instead of a waiting passenger.  On appeal before the Ontario Court of Justice, counsel for the driver argued that the driver did not illegally operate a taxicab because no taxi ride occurred. Nonetheless, the Court upheld the by-law charge.  The Court relied on the standard approach to statutory interpretation, which reads a statute by its “grammatical and ordinary sense” in light of the broader objectives and intentions of the legislation.  Central to the Court’s … Read More

Dominican Republic Vacation Claim Examined in Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Negligence, Summary Judgment, Travel & Tour Operators, Travel & Tourism0 Comments

In Di Gregorio v. Sunwing Vacations Inc., the appellants purchased a vacation package to attend the Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa through their travel agent, Sunwing Vacations Inc. (“Sunwing”). While on vacation, the balcony railing gave way resulting in the appellants sustaining injuries. The motion judge was found to have erred in not conducting a jurisdictional analysis pursuant to Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda. The Court of Appeal stated that the relevant connecting factor is that the claim pleaded was based on an Ontario contract. The alleged tortfeasors do not need to be party to the contract, as all that is required is that a “defendant’s conduct brings it within the scope of the contractual relationship and that the events that give rise to the claim flow from the contractual relationship” as stated in Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon LLP v. Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. The Court of … Read More

A Successful Constructive Dismissal Claim in Hagholm v. Coerio Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Employment, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal, Summary Judgment, Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee is indirectly and effectively dismissed from the position or terms he/she had previously agreed formed the employment. Without the consent of the employee, a substantial alteration is presented that fundamentally changes the terms of the agreed upon contract. Hagholm v. Coerio Inc. represents a successful claim for constructive dismissal. The respondent had entered into her employment on the understanding that she could work from home three days a week. When this condition was changed, the respondent claimed constructive dismissal and ceased coming to work. The Motion Judge, on a motion for summary judgment, found that there was constructive dismissal because this was an essential term and the appellant arbitrarily withheld a bonus from the respondent. The Court of Appeal also confirmed that the respondent was not required to mitigate her damages for the appellant’s breach of contract in these circumstances. Also in this case, the … Read More