When May an Academic Complaint be Brought to Court? Clarification from the Ontario Court of Appeal

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MAdministrative Law, Contract Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In Lam v University of Western Ontario, 2019 ONCA 82, the Ontario Court of Appeal reiterated that courts have jurisdiction over claims for damages for breach of contract and tort even when the claims arose out of an academic dispute. Judicial History After commencement of the action by the student, the university brought a motion for summary judgment.  The principal basis for the motion was that the student’s claim related to the university’s decisions about teaching, mentoring, supervising and administering its Ph.D. program and therefore to matters that are “purely academic in nature” [para 22].  The motion judge granted summary judgment dismissing the action.  The motion judge held that academic issues must be distinguished from legal issues when reviewing a university’s conduct, and that academic issues are to be resolved by the university’s internal process, subject to judicial review [para 23]. In reversing the motion judge’s decision, the Court of … Read More

Irreparable Harm for Injunctive Relief Determined by Court, Not Agreement

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MContract Disputes, Injunction & Specific Performance0 Comments

In dismissing a motion for an interlocutory injunction, the Ontario Superior Court in Homestead House Paint Co. Inc. v Jamieson, 2019 ONSC 2660 (“Homestead”), recently reiterated that a clause deeming a breach to cause irreparable harm does not displace the courts’ exclusive role to determine whether injunctive relief is appropriate and whether or not irreparable harm has been established. The RJR MacDonald Test In RJR-MacDonald v Canada (AG), 1994 SCC 117, the Supreme Court of Canada established the well-known test for an interlocutory injunction.  The moving party is required to prove that: There is a serious issue to be tried; That the moving party will suffer irreparable harm if the relief is not granted; and The balance of convenience favours granting the injunction. Irreparable Harm Irreparable harm is defined as harm that “cannot be quantified in monetary terms or which cannot be cured” [RJR-Macdonald]. In Homestead, the moving party argued … 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.

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

Ontario Court Considers United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods on Summary Judgment Motion

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, International Sale of Goods, Sale of Goods0 Comments

In Solea International BVBA v. Bassett & Walker International Inc., 2018 ONSC 4261, the Ontario Court of Appeal had directed the Superior Court to rehear a motion for summary judgment applying the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”), representing a rare instance of the Ontario Court explicitly considering the CISG.   The case involved the sale of shrimp by the plaintiff to the defendant.  The defendant argued, among other things, that it was not required to pay for the shrimp because the plaintiff breached a fundamental term of the contract, being provision of  a Health Certificate with a statement guaranteeing that the shrimp was free of certain diseases. The defendant argued that as a result of breach of a fundamental term, it was entitled to declare the contract avoided (pursuant to Article 49 of the CISG). In rejecting that defence, the … Read More

Waivers of Liability Enforced in Schnarr v Blue Mountain Resorts Ltd.

Yona Gal, J.D., LL.MCivil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Negligence0 Comments

What happens when statutes collide? In Schnarr v Blue Mountain Resorts Limited, the Ontario Court of Appeal was recently asked to bar a negligence suit by enforcing waivers of liability signed by skiers visiting a ski resort. The issues in the case clustered around the dual application of both the Occupiers’ Liability Act (“OLA“) and the Consumer Protection Act (“CPA“) to agreements between skiers and ski resorts. As an occupier of premises, ski resorts are subject to the OLA.  To encourage landowners to make their property available for recreational activities, the OLA allows for landowners to limit their liability through waivers of liability.  However, as a consumer agreement, these ski resort contracts are also governed by the CPA.  The CPA requires services supplied under a consumer agreement to be of a reasonably acceptable quality and deems waivers purporting to limit resultant liability to be void. The concurrent governance of the OLA and … Read More

Real Estate Litigation: Failure to Give Extension of Closing Date is not Bad Faith

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Certificate of Pending Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The recent summary judgment motion decision in Time Development Group Inc. v. Bitton, 2018 ONSC 4384, involves a situation that arises quite often in failed closings of real estate transactions.  One of the main causes for an aborted real estate transaction is the failure of the purchaser to obtain the required financing to close on the transaction, possibly influenced by the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the new mortgage lending rules. In this case,  the plaintiff entered into an agreement to purchase three adjoining properties for a residential home redevelopment project.  There were a series of amendments to the agreement with the terms as follows: (a) purchase price of $10.55 million; (b) deposit of $500,000; (c) two vendor take back mortgages; and (d) closing date of July 31, 2017.  The plaintiff had secured a commitment letter to finance the transaction, however, six days before the closing date, the plaintiff was dismayed to find out that their financing had been withdrawn because the market conditions had changed.  … 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

An Illegal By-Law in Perelli v. The Town Corporation of Richmond Hill

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Employment, Summary Judgment0 Comments

Matthew Stroh represented the plaintiff in Perelli v. The Corporation of the Town of Richmond Hill, 2017 ONSC 6062, who was successful on a motion for summary judgment declaring that The Corporation of the Town of Richmond Hill (“the Town”) By-Law 135-14 is illegal. From December 1, 2010 to November 30, 2014, the plaintiff was employed as an elected municipal councillor for Ward 2 of the Town. Upon the completion of his term, the plaintiff was entitled to severance pay, but only received a deducted amount due to the Town By-Law 135-14 (“the By-Law”) that authorized said deduction. The deduction represents the amount charged in postage by the plaintiff to the Town’s corporate account in conducting a survey. Justice Sutherland of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found the By-Law to be invalid due to lack of statutory authority and void for bad faith. The By-Law was enacted without the plaintiff … Read More

When is Oral Evidence Required to Resolve Credibility Issues in Summary Judgment Motions?

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, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2212886 Ontario Inc. v. Obsidian Group Inc., 2018 ONCA 670, involved the appeal of a partial summary judgment decision in a dispute between the franchisor and a franchisee of Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill.  In this case, the franchisee operated a Crabby Joe’s franchise for a year and a half prior to serving a notice of rescission of the franchise agreement on the franchisor. Claims The franchisee claimed that the disclosure document provided was materially deficient and it was entitled to rescind the franchise agreement within two years of execution of the franchise agreement under section 6(2) of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclousre), 2000 (“the Act”).   The franchisee claimed for rescission damages under section 6(6) of the Act and also damages for breach of contract and breach of the fair dealing obligations under the Act.  In response, the franchisor brought a counterclaim for a declaration that the franchise agreement was validly terminated and a … Read More

Court Grants Interim, Interim Injunction Without Specific Evidence of Harm

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Brand Protection, Breach of Confidentiality Agreement, Breach of Confidentiality Clause, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, Contract Disputes, Employment, Injunction & Specific Performance, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause0 Comments

In Knowmadics v. Cinnamon, 2018 ONSC 4451 (CanLII) the plaintiff company sought an urgent interim, interim injunction regarding an app sold by the defendants pending the hearing of a motion for an interlocutory injunction. The plaintiff sold specialized computer software.  The individual defendant was employed by the plaintiff and signed an employment agreement, including a confidentiality and non-competition clause.  The defendant also had a business, the corporate co-defendant, which did subcontracting work for the plaintiff after the defendant resigned from employment with the plaintiff.  The corporate defendant signed a non-disclosure agreement with the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants were selling certain software that directly competed with the plaintiff’s software and infringed the plaintiff’s copyrights.  The plaintiffs commenced an action against the defendants. After commencing the action, the plaintiff alleged that they learned that the defendants were also selling a certain app over which the plaintiffs asserted ownership.  The … Read More

Entire Agreement Clause Upheld in Manorgate Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Construction | Builders, Construction Litigation, Contract Disputes, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Entire Agreement Clauses are meant to prevent negotiations that occurred prior to the contract being formed from influencing the Court’s interpretation of the terms set out in the final contract. In other words, past discussions are to have no bearing on the understanding of the contractual terms. In theory, a fully integrated agreement of this kind supplants any earlier oral or written agreements. There is competing jurisprudence in which Entire Agreement Clauses have been both effective and ineffective. However, Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision where an Entire Agreement Clause was effective. In Manograte Estates Inc. v. Kirkor Architects and Planners, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the Motion Judge’s decision that the Entire Agreement Clause in the relevant agreement, regarding architectural consulting for a construction project, operated as a complete defence to the appellants’ claim of alleged negligent misrepresentation. The Entire Agreement Clause … Read More

What Does the Illegal Substances Clause Mean in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Agents and Brokers, Appeals, Broker and Agent Claims, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

The Court of Appeal decision in Beatty v. Wei, 2018 ONCA 479, involved the failed closing of a residential property in Toronto and the proper interpretation of an illegal substances clause that is commonly found in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale. Illegal Substances Clause in OREA Agreement of Purchase and Sale In this case, about a month after entering into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the purchaser’s real estate agent discovered the property had been previously used as a marijuana grow-op in 2004.  The purchaser sought to terminate the agreement and demanded the return of the $30,000 deposit.  The sellers refused to terminate the agreement and commenced an application for a declaration that the purchaser breached the agreement by failing to close and an order that the sellers were entitled to the deposit and related damages.  In response, the purchaser commenced a competing application for similar relief. The dispute was in respect to … Read More

Real Estate Litigation – Ontario Court Decides Dispute Over House Flipping Profits

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Ballestin v. 1304478 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 2969, involved a dispute between parties that entered into an arrangement for the purposes of flipping a house during the surging real estate market in 2016. In the fall of 2016, the Plaintiffs were interested in purchasing, renovating and re-selling a property for a profit, however, they were unable to obtain financing for their house flipping venture.  During an open house, the Defendant homeowner suggested that they enter into an agreement with an extended closing date to provide the Plaintiffs with sufficient time to renovate and sell the property to a third party prior to the closing date. The terms of the agreement included: (a) a deposit of $25,000; (b) a purchase price of $600,000; (c) the balance owing to the Defendant was $605,000 less the deposit and less the difference between $5,000 and actual legal fees paid; and (d) any profit above … Read More

Gilbertson Davis LLP Enforces Liquidated Damages Clause in Settlement Agreement by Summary Judgment

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Fraudulent Schemes, Shareholder Disputes, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Haas v. Viscardi, 2018 ONSC 2883 (CanLII) the plaintiff settled a claim of $200,000 based on fraudulent misrepresentation with three defendants. The settlement agreement provided for various payments by the defendants on specified dates.  The settlement agreement required Viscardi to make payments of $30,000 in three installments. If Viscardi failed to make the payments on the dates provided, the settlement agreement provided that Viscardi would consent to judgment for $60,000 (the “Consent Judgment Clause”). Viscardi made one payment of $10,000, but failed to make the remaining two payments, in breach of the settlement agreement.  He then refused to consent to judgment. The plaintiff commenced a claim to enforce the settlement agreement, and brought a motion for summary judgment. The motion judge rejected Viscardi’s argument that the Consent Judgment Clause was an unenforceable penalty clause.  The judge considered the test for whether a liquidated damages clause is an unenforceable penalty: … Read More