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

Judgment Against Anonymous Blogger – Service on Pseudonym

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Online Defamation0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Theralase Technologies Inc. v. Lanter, 2020 ONSC 205, (“Theralase Technologies Inc.”)  the court granted judgment in libel against anonymous and unidentified bloggers. In his reasons, Justice Myers held that the court has jurisdiction to grant judgment against unidentified defendants, despite the fact that the plaintiffs and the court do not know the defendant’s name, for defamatory statements published on the internet, “where a form of service can reasonably be expected to bring court proceedings to the attention of an unidentified defendant at whom the litigation finger has been appropriately pointed…” While noting that nothing in the Rules of Civil Procedure anticipates final judgments being granted against unidentified defendants, because civil proceedings generally involve claims and judgments in personam (against a person), the court observed that there are many cases started with placeholder names like “John Doe” pending the identification of … Read More

Profit Not Required to Find Use of Trademark in Normal Course of Trade

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppellate Advocacy, Brand Protection, Commercial, Distribution Agreements, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

The Federal Court of Appeal in Cosmetic Warriors Limited v. Riches, McKenzie & Herbert LLP, 2019 FCA 48, set aside the decision and allowed the appeal of the Federal Court judgment allowing an appeal from a decision of the Registrar of Trade-marks, made through her delegate, a hearing officer of the Trade-marks Opposition Board, that found that the trademark had been used in the “normal course of trade” within the meaning of subsection 4(1) of the Trademarks Act, RSC 1985, c T-13 ( the “Act”) and thus maintained the registration of a trade-mark in a proceeding challenging the registration for non-use under section 45 of the Act. In issue was the trade-mark “LUSH,” as registered for use in association with “[c]lothing, namely, t-shirts.” In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal described that: “The T-shirts and tank tops bearing the LUSH trade-mark are sold by Lush Canada in limited quantities … 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

Toronto Franchise Arbitrator Available with Reasonable Fee Rate

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial0 Comments

David is a Qualified Arbitrator (Q.Arb) who has been appointed sole arbitrator in commercial disputes by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. He is a full member of the ADR Institute of Ontario and the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society and appears on each of their rosters of arbitrators. He accepts appointment as arbitrator in  franchise, distribution and licencing disputes. (click here) David accepts appointment as sole or panel arbitrator in franchise, distribution, and licencing disputes (click here), whether domestic or international international dimension. As legal counsel, David has extensive experience in Ontario, England and in Dubai in distribution disputes. David has practiced franchise law in Ontario, in connection with franchisors located in Ontario and the U.S.  His experience in franchise law includes representation in proceedings (and potential proceedings) concerning rescission and damages claims, counterclaims of franchisors, termination of franchise agreements, opinions on the application of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise … Read More

Keep Them Calm and Arbitrate On!

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Arbitrators, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Gilbertson Davis LLP News0 Comments

Keep Them Calm and Arbitrate On!  David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and Arbitrator, will present a talk and workshop at the ADR Institute of Ontario 2020, 35th Annual General Meeting and Professional Development Conference, on June 4, 2020, entitled “Keep Them Calm and Arbitrate On: Sources of Commercial Arbitration Conflict & Tools / Techniques for Conflict Minimization“. Workshop Description Conflict in arbitration arises when the process is conducted as a fight, a battle, or a struggle.  This can defeat the process and frustrate realization of the parties’ objectives. This talk will focus on four sources of conflict: the party who 1) does not want to be in arbitration,  but who has no choice because of a contractual or statutory arbitration requirement; 2) refuses  to participate in the process (and/or to pay the tribunal’s fees); 3) fights everything: the rules, the laws, jurisdiction and procedural orders; and 4) participates over-zealously, whether personally or through counsel. Strategies to minimize such conflicts are suggested. Background  David Alderson has accredited … 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

Deposits In Failed Real Property Transactions

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Broker and Agent Claims, Commercial, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cottage Purchase and Sale, Professional Liability, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Recreational Property Litigation0 Comments

The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Azzarello v. Shawqi, 2019 ONCA 820, illustrates the purpose of providing a deposit when purchasing real property and under what circumstances a purchaser will lose their deposit or be refunded the deposit if the sale does not go through. There are some important general principles that purchasers and sellers should be aware of regarding deposits in a real estate transaction: 1) Contemplation Regarding The Deposit In the Contract Is Important Purchasers and sellers should carefully consider the terms to be included in the purchase and sale agreement regarding the deposit. The contract should be clear about what happens to the deposit in all possible scenarios. In cases where it is not, the courts will look to implied terms in the contract and existing case law which governs how deposits are dealt with. 2) The Reason The Sale Fell Apart Is Important The … Read More

Business Dirty Tricks

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial0 Comments

Sometimes businesses and their stakeholders act wrongfully in seeking to advance their interests and / or harm competitors. There are often reports of the “dirty tricks” used by those in business to seek to destroy, defeat or diminish the effectiveness of a competitor. These are often unethical tactics, but sometimes such conduct is also wrongful and has been recognized by the common law as actionable in the courts for damages or injunctive or other urgent equitable relief, or prohibited by a statute which provides for a civil monetary remedy or grounds for an injunction. These causes of action have been recognized and provide the basis of lawsuits for harm, loss and damage, and in suitable circumstances, grounds for an immediate injunction or mandatory order prohibiting the further commission of the wrongful acts. In short, wrongful intentional acts causing harm, loss or damage to businesses or their stakeholders may give rise to a cause of action in common law business torts (the so-called … Read More

Latent Defects or Hidden Damage in Real Property Transactions

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Agents and Brokers, Broker and Agent Claims, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Condo Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cottage Litigation, Cottage Purchase and Sale, Misrepresentation, Professional Liability, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Recreational Property, Recreational Property Litigation0 Comments

What Are Latent Defects Or Hidden Damages? Latent defects or Hidden Damage are defects to a property that are not generally discoverable by a prospective purchaser on a reasonable inspection and ordinary vigilance. This can include issues such as, faulty electrical wiring hiding behind the walls or a well-hidden termite or mold problem. Many real estate purchases include a buyer’s right to inspect the property to be purchased. However, these inspections are not exhaustive, and may not reveal latent defects or hidden problems with the property that are not readily visible. Why Do Participants In A Real Estate Transaction Need To Be Concerned About Latent Defects Or Hidden Damage? The problem latent defects or hidden damage can pose for a prospective real estate purchaser is that no amount of vigilance on a visual inspection can uncover such a defect, even one conducted with a home inspector (who’s inspections are typically … 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

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