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

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

Nick Poon Comments on Real Estate Wire Fraud for Yahoo!

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Broker and Agent Claims, Civil Litigation, Cyber Fraud, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Fraudulent Schemes, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

Nick Poon was recently asked to comment on real estate wire fraud for Yahoo News Canada. Read the Yahoo News Canada article here: ‘The prospects of recovering the money are near zero’: The scam homebuyers need to be aware of. If you have a fraud claim or a real estate dispute, please contact us for an initial consultation.

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

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

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

The Supreme Court of Canada On Defence Against the Tort of Conversion (Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Employee Fraud, Finance Litigation, Financial Services | Investment, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Fraudulent Schemes, Investment | Financial Services0 Comments

In Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust, Teva Canada Ltd. (“Teva”), a pharmaceutical company, “was the victim of a fraudulent cheque scheme implemented by one of its employees”, (para 1). Teva claimed the collecting banks were liable for the tort of conversion. Teva Canada Ltd. v. TD Canada Trust provides insight into the Bills of Exchange Act‘s (“BEA”) section 20(5) defence to the tort of conversion, by clarifying the approach used to determining whether a payee is “fictitious or non-existing”. In the event that a payee is deemed fictitious or non-existing within the meaning of section 20(5) of the BEA, the bill may be treated as payable to the bearer, and thus can be negotiated by simple “delivery” to the bank meaning endorsement is not required, and the defence will succeed (para 5). Justice Abella, writing for the majority, outlined the two-step framework a bank must satisfy to demonstrate that a payee is fictitious or … 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

Insurance Coverage For Cyber Crime: The Brick v. Chubb

Gilbertson Davis LLPCyber Fraud, Cyber Risks, Cyber Security, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Insurance, Internet Fraud, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In the recent case of The Brick v. Chubb Insurance, the Alberta Court of Queens Bench held that the plaintiff’s commercial crime policy did not cover the money lost by the plaintiff as a result of a social engineering fraud. The plaintiff had been contacted by unknown persons pretending to be one of the plaintiff’s service providers, and requested banking information from their accounts payable department, which ultimately led to the plaintiff changing their internal records and sending of payments to the fraudsters’ own account instead of their service provider. The plaintiff sought coverage for the losses, and the insurer denied coverage. The court noted that the policy only applied to fund transfers made “without the insured’s knowledge or consent”. The plaintiff argued that they did not consent, since their actions were induced by the fraudulent correspondence. The insurer argued that the policy did not require consent to be “informed” or otherwise … Read More

Court of Appeal Reiterates Importance of Pleading Particulars of Fraud

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

In Midland Resources Holding Limited v. Shtaif, 2017 ONCA 320, the trial judge found the appellants liable to a company’s shareholders for fraudulent misrepresentations before and after an initial public offering (IPO).  On appeal, the appellants argued that the trial judge erred in finding liability based on the IPO-related statements because the respondents did not plead or argue at trial that such statements amounted to fraudulent misrepresentations. The Court of Appeal stated that a pleading of fraud or misrepresentation must set out with careful particularity the elements of the misrepresentation relied upon, including: the alleged misrepresentation itself; when, where, how, by whom and to whom it was made; its falsity; the inducement; the intention that the plaintiff should rely upon it; the alteration by the plaintiff of his or her position relying on the misrepresentation; the resulting loss or damage to the plaintiff; and if deceit is alleged, an allegation … Read More

Toronto Lawyers for Victims of Investment Fraud: When Investing in a Toronto Business Goes Bad

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Broker and Agent Claims, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Injunction & Specific Performance, Investment Fraud, Summary Judgment0 Comments

A bad investment may not be the result of market fluctuations. A false representation inducing and leading to an investment loss may be actionable at law. Often there is a promised  high-yield on an investment in a company, project or property.  Sometimes a loss occurs from a scheme where there is no intention by those entrusted with an investment to make the promised purchase or transfer. In Ontario, civil lawsuits for the victims of investment fraud have often been framed as claims for deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy,  breach of contract, unjust enrichment and restitution. Increasingly though, plaintiffs in lawsuits simply claim damages for losses arising directly from the tort of civil fraud. The leading case on civil fraud in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, and in that case civil fraud is defined this way “… the tort of … Read More

Business Dirty Tricks: Unfair Competition: Intentional Interference, Inducing Breach of Contract, Conspiracy and Defamation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppropriation of Personality, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement0 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

Court Confirms Inference of Dissipation in Mareva Motions Based on Fraud

Gilbertson Davis LLPCommercial Litigation, Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance0 Comments

In the recent case of Electromart (Ontario) Inc. v Fabianiak et al., the Ontario Superior Court considered the level of evidence required to prove that there is a real risk of the dissipation of assets, one of the elements necessary to obtain a Mareva injunction freezing a defendant’s assets. Normally, a court will not freeze a defendant’s assets just because the plaintiff is concerned that they will not be able to recover any money on their judgment at the end of litigation. However, where the court is convinced that the defendant is improperly dissipating his or her assets to make recovery more difficult or impossible, the court will freeze a defendant’s assets to prevent that from happening. In addition to proving a strong prima facie case, a moving plaintiff must also show why the freeze is necessary – that is, some reason to believe that assets will be dissipated if the order is not granted. The … Read More

Civil Fraud Lawsuit Dismissed on Summary Judgment Motion

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Fraud, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Danos v. BMW Group Financial Services Canada, 2014 ONSC 2060, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dealt with a summary judgment motion brought by the defendants to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims that it forged their signatures on car leasing documents.  The plaintiffs had leased a luxury car from the defendants but failed to keep up with the lease payments.  The defendants took steps to repossess the car and commenced an action to recover its losses.  After receiving the defendants’ productions, the plaintiffs’ allegedly discovered that their signatures were forged on a number of leasing documents, and commenced a fresh action claiming damages arising from the alleged fraud.  The defendants brought a summary judgment motion to dismiss the action. The Supreme Court of Canada in Bruno Appliance and Furniture, Inc. v. Hryniak, 2014 SCC 8, recently summarized the elements of the tort of civil fraud as follows: (1) a false representation made by the defendants; (2) some level of knowledge of the falsehood of the … Read More

Insurance Fraud: See No Evil & Pay The Piper

John L. Davis, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Civil Litigation, Fraud, Insurance0 Comments

With Thompson’s World Insurance News reporting (May 5, 2014) that Aviva detected over C$202.84m in insurance fraud in 2013–a 19% increase over 2012–over 45 claims a day (C$553,370) it is clear that one of the world’s oldest professions must be taken increasingly seriously by insurance claims executives. Fraudsters have historically viewed insurance fraud as a relatively low risk way of building a career in criminality.   Fearful of investigation and defense costs, and of punitive damages verdicts where a defense does not succeed, many insurers have often paid claims they believe to be fraudulent.  It is hard to scope out the true cost of fraud unless adequate resources are devoted to the task: you don’t find what you do not actively and aggressively pursue. With Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates of insurance fraud in Canada north of $500 million a year, the cost of inaction is clear.  Cost/Benefit analyses solely focused on a case by … Read More