Measures of Last Resort – The Benefits of Exit Provisions in Shareholder’s Agreements

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Corporate Disputes, Family Business Disputes, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Oppression Remedies, Sale of Business Disputes, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

The benefits of a shareholder’s agreement may not be fully considered when parties are intending to go into business together and become joint shareholders in a corporation. Perhaps the mood is optimistic and none of the participants anticipate that things might sour between them down the road. Sometimes corporations are formed absent such an agreement. However, among other benefits, these agreements become particularly useful in managing risk and guiding shareholders through governance issues and disputes that may arise, efficiently so as to minimize disruption to the corporation’s business. Absent a shareholder’s agreement, shareholders in a closely held corporation that cannot see eye-to-eye regarding the operation and path of the corporation, may become stuck in a deadlock where decision-making is effectively stifled due to a stalemate between them. Shareholder’s agreements can serve to provide mechanisms to address deadlock, protect the voice and rights of minority shareholders, provide a road map for … Read More

When Shareholders Need an Auditor or Inspector

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Dispute Arbitrator, Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Financial Services | Investment, Fraud Recovery, Injunction & Specific Performance, Mareva Injunction, Norwich Order, Oppression Remedies, Preservation Orders0 Comments

I address here in a general way the procedures available for a shareholder or group of shareholders seeking the assistance of the court to have an auditor or inspector appointed. Financial Statements  – None or Inaccurate  Shareholders in closely-held Ontario corporations sometimes have concerns about the accuracy of the financial statements when the company does not have an auditor. Oppressive or Unfairly Prejudicial Conduct In other cases, a shareholder in an Ontario corporation may consider that the corporation has been carried on, or the powers of the directors are, or have been, exercised, in a manner that is oppressive or unfairly prejudicial to, or that unfairly disregards, the interests of the shareholder. Corporation and Fraud One or more shareholders may have concerns that the corporation’s business is, or has been, carried on with the intent to defraud,  that the corporation was formed or dissolved for a fraudulent or unlawful purpose, … Read More

Hurdles To Recognition and Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Commercial, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Interjurisdictional Disputes, International Litigation, International Sale of Goods, International Sale of Goods Arbitrator, International Trade Fraud, International Traders, Jurisdictional Challenges, Letters Rogatory, Of Interest to US Counsel, Offshore, Request for International Judicial Assistance0 Comments

In the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision of H.M.B. Holdings Limited v. Antigua and Barbuda, 2020 ONCA 12, the Court of Appeal rendered a split (2-1) decision regarding the recognition of a foreign judgment which muddies the waters on the analysis to be applied to s.3(b) of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. R.5 (REJA) Original Judgment: In this case H.M.B. Holdings Limited (HMB) was successful in obtaining judgment on February 26, 2014, against Antigua and Barbuda from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the JCPC), which is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories and Commonwealth countries including Antigua and Barbuda. The case related to damages sought by HMB due to the expropriation of resort lands by the Antiguan government. The case has garnered some media attention because of the manner in which the lands were expropriated. HMB then brought a common law … Read More

Liability of Directors and Officers | Oppression Remedy | Shareholders Claims

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Disputes, Business Fraud, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Embezzlement, Family Business Disputes, Mareva Injunction, Norwich Order, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

The lawyers in our Business Dispute Practice Group have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small, mid-sized and large corporations (incorporated in Ontario and in Canada), shareholders, directors, officers, and executives in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted for clients in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the … Read More

UN Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods | Ontario’s International Sales Convention Act

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, International Distribution, International Litigation, International Sale of Goods, Offshore, Sale of Goods, UNCITRAL0 Comments

Some international traders are still not aware that the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is the law of Ontario, Canada, by virtue of the Ontario International Sales Conventions Act, RSO 1990, c I.10. The Convention Status Chart is located here. Pending entry of the United Nations Convention On Contracts for the International Sale of Goods into force in these jurisdictions should be noted*: DPR Korea on 01.04.2020 Guatemala on 01.01.2021 Lao PDR  on  01.10.2020 Liechtenstein on 01.05.2020 *Authoritative information on the status of the treaties deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, including historical status information, may be obtained by consulting the United Nations Treaty Collection. The UNCITRAL Secretariat also prepares yearly a document containing the Status of Conventions and Enactments of UNCITRAL Model Laws, which is available on the web page of the corresponding UNCITRAL Commission Session. Please read our archive of blog … Read More

Limitation Period Considerations in Derivative Proceedings

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Fraud, Business Law, Business Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Corporate Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies0 Comments

Under modern business corporation legislation, a claim for wrongdoing against a corporation can only be brought by the corporation itself, or by way of a derivative action for which leave from the court is required. In Ontario, there is a standard two-year limitation period that applies to the commencement of most lawsuits, including derivative claims on behalf of a corporation. When wrongs done to a corporation are alleged to have been done by a director or directors who exercise control and decision-making on behalf of the corporation, it is unlikely that those same directors will agree to commence a claim on behalf of the corporation for those wrongs. It is then up to other interested stakeholders, such as shareholders, to seek leave to commence a derivative claim on behalf of the corporation for the wrongs done to the corporation. Until the release of a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling … Read More

Part Two – Timing is Everything in Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

I had written a previous blog on the “time is of the essence” clause in real estate agreements where it was discussed that the strict adherence to any agreed upon time limits was generally the case. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Fortress Carlyle Peter St. Inc. v. Ricki’s Construction and Painting Inc., serves as a reminder that the “time is of the essence” clause is not absolute and unfettered, and there are preconditions that must be satisfied for a party to rely upon and insist on time being of the essence. The facts are not overly complicated in this case.  The respondent was a condominium developer in the process of acquiring properties for a proposed project in downtown Toronto.  The developer entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (“APS”) with the vendor to acquire the subject property.  Although the APS required the vendor to provide estoppel certificates five days prior … Read More

Partnership Disputes – Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects and Engineers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Business Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Confidentiality Agreement, Corporate Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professions0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact on … Read More

Protecting Your Internet Domain Name

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Fraud, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Copyright Infringement, Cyber Fraud, Cyber Risks, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Identity Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Internet Fraud, Passing Off, Specific Performance, Start-Up Disputes, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

In the age of the internet and e-commerce, the domain name of a business holds tremendous value and is often an integral part of the identity of a business. Since a website can only have one domain name on the internet, there is no shortage of disputes which arise over ownership rights of domain names, particularly those closely affiliated with a registered or unregistered trademark. What is Cyber-Squatting? Cyber-Squatting occurs when someone has registered a domain name in which they have no legitimate business interest, and can sometimes involve setting up a fake website for a business. The reason could be that the registrant will then seek to sell the domain name to the legitimate owner of the business or trademark, or their competitor for a profit. Alternatively, it may be to syphon away business leads online to competitors for a fee, or for advertising revenues. Typo-Squatting is similar to … Read More

Manufacturers and Distributors – Toronto Litigation Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Dealership Agreements, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Passing Off, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Technology and Internet, Textiles and Apparel, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Our lawyers can provide sound advice and effective representation to manufacturers and distributors involved in actual or potential disputes or litigation.  We focus on a wide variety of manufacturing industries in a broad array of legal disputes, including sale of goods, branding and brand protection, transportation and logistics, supply and outsourcing contracts, unpaid accounts, internal business disputes, construction and urgent remedies. The automotive industry, the food and beverage industry and technology industries in the Toronto – Waterloo Innovation Corridor comprise the most substantial sectors of the Ontario manufacturing landscape. We also can provide advice and representation to the many other manufacturing industries in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including these: Automated Machinery and Robotics, Automotive Industry, Auto Parts Manufacturing, Building Materials, Canning and Bottling, Chemical Manufacturing and Supply, Clean Tech, Computer Equipment and Electronic Equipment, Concrete, Brick, Glass, Drywall, Lumber and Stone, Confectionery, Food and Beverage, Financial Technology, Furniture Manufactures and Importers, , Bottling, Packaging and Containers, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC, Insulation and Environmental Solutions, … Read More

Shareholder Disputes, Oppression Remedy, and Liability of Directors and Officers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Business Law, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professions, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small, mid-sized and large Ontario and Canadian corporations, shareholders, directors, officers, executives and creditors in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates … Read More

Partnership Disputes Between Professionals – Dentists, Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Architects and Engineers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Business Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Joint Venture Disputes, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Professional Services0 Comments

Partnerships Professionals often carry on their professional practice as partners in a partnership or limited liability partnership. Partnerships can be created simply by conduct and the application of the Partnership Act or by a simple or complex partnership agreement. Joint Venture Contract – Fiduciary Duties? In other cases professionals associate in practice by participation in a contractual joint venture which, depending on the agreement and the circumstances, may or may not at law also be a partnership but, in any event, may attract the duties and obligations of partners, including fiduciary duties. Sharing Space Lastly, some professionals may consider that they are only sharing space with other professional and may be very surprised to find that the arrangement gave rise at law to unexpected obligations. Duty of Honest Performance The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew, though not a case about partnerships, nonetheless has a wide-ranging impact … Read More

International Sales Conventions Act, R.S.O. 1990, cI.10 | United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial, Conventions & Treaties, Cross-Border Litigation, Dealership Agreements, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, International Distribution, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Jurisdictional Challenges, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers, Of Interest to US Counsel, Sale of Goods, UNCITRAL0 Comments

Many international traders are not aware that the United Nations Convention On Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and the Convention On The Limitation Period In the International Sale of Goods are the law of Ontario, Canada, by virtue of the Ontario International Sales Conventions Act, RSO 1990, c I.10, that applies to contracts for the international sale of goods. While there are 92 parties, recent and pending entry of the United Nations Convention On Contracts for the International Sale of Goods into force in these jurisdictions should be noted*: Viet Nam on 01/01/2017; Azerbaijan on 01/06/2017; Fiji on 01/07/2018; Costa Rica on 01/08/2018; Cameroon on 01/11/2018; State of Palestine on 01/01/2019; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 01/04/2020; Liechtenstein on 01/05/2020; and Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 01/10/2020. *Authoritative information on the status of the treaties deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, including historical status information, may be obtained by … Read More

Service of Foreign Process (including U.S. Proceedings) in Ontario, Canada

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCasino Debt Recovery, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Hague Conventions, Import | Export, International Litigation, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Of Interest to US Counsel, Request for International Judicial Assistance0 Comments

Since 1989 Canada has been a member of Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, (the Hague Service Convention). The Hague Service Convention requires its member States to designate a “Central Authority” to accept incoming requests for service. The Central Authority in Canada, on the federal level, is the Attorney General for Canada, and the Central Authority on the provincial level, in Ontario is the Attorney General, the Ministry of the Attorney General or the Minister of Justice. In Ontario, service of foreign proceeding under the Hague Service Convention requires that a completed Request for Service Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents Form together with the prescribed number of originating process documents and prescribed fee to the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario. There are alternatives to the Hague Service Convention service of foreign process in Ontario. If you are seeking advice or … 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

Andrew Ottaway Writes Article on CISG for Law Times

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, International Litigation, International Sale of Goods, UNCITRAL0 Comments

The Law Times recently published an article by Andrew Ottaway on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (the “CISG”). The article includes: a discussion of the recent case of Solea International BVBA v. Bassett & Walker International Inc., 2018 ONSC 4261 (CanLII), in which the Ontario Court applied the CISG; a discussion of the near total obscurity of the CISG in Ontario; examples of the notable differences between the CISG and the Ontario common law / Sale of Goods Act. The article can be read in its entirety here. The lawyers at Gilbertson Davis LLP have experience in commercial litigation, including cross-border litigation involving the CISG.  Contact us for an initial consultation.

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