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

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

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

Court Considers Jurisdiction in Context of Online Sales

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Dish v. Shava, 2018 ONSC 2867 (CanLII), plaintiffs obtained judgment in Virginia, including an injunction, against the defendants, who were located in Ontario.  The plaintiffs then brought an action in Ontario seeking recognition and enforcement of the Virginia judgment and injunction in Ontario. On the motion for summary judgment, the Ontario Court considered whether the Virginia Court had exercised jurisdiction based on the Ontario test for jurisdiction: i.e. whether the defendants had a real and substantial connection with Virginia. The defendants owned and operated an interactive, commercial website through which users purchased TV set-top boxes.  The Ontario Court found that the defendants had a real substantial connection to Virginia based on the nature of the business they were operating, specifically: users in Virginia purchased the TV set-top boxes from the defendants’ website.  At least 193 customers with a Virginia shipping address purchased Shava TV product from the Defendants’ distributor … Read More

Court Considers When Limitation Period Commences to Enforce Foreign Judgment

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Injunction & Specific Performance, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Grayson Consulting Inc. v. Lloyd, 2018 ONSC 2020 (CanLII), the plaintiff obtained a judgment in South Carolina in 2014.    The plaintiff commenced proceedings in Ontario in 2017 in respect of the South Carolina and obtained an ex parte Mareva injunction (freezing order) against the defendant.  The defendant challenged the Mareva injunction, arguing that the Ontario proceeding was commenced outside Ontario’s two-year limitation period.   The plaintiff argued, among other things, that the limitation period did not commence until the plaintiff received a report from investigators that the defendant had exigible assets in Ontario.   The plaintiff relied on the recent case of Independence Plaza 1 Associates L.L.C. v. Figliolini 2017 ONCA 44 (CanLII), in which the Court of Appeal stated that a claim based on a foreign judgment may not be “discovered” until a judgment creditor knew or ought to have known that the judgment debtor had exigible assets in … Read More

Court of Appeal Provides Guidance on Whether Party Carrying on Business in Ontario as Basis for Jurisdiction

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appellate Advocacy, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Sgromo v. Scott, 2018 ONCA 5, the Court of Appeal considered the scope of one of the presumptive grounds for jurisdiction of the Ontario Court: whether a party carried on business in Ontario.  The Defendants were incorporated in jurisdictions outside of Ontario.   The Defendants brought motions to stay or dismiss the subject actions. On the motion, the Plaintiff alleged that because the products of some of the Defendants were advertised, marketed, and distributed by third party retailers in Ontario, the Defendants were carrying on business in Ontario, such that Ontario had presumptive jurisdiction.  The motion judge rejected that argument. On appeal, the Court of Appeal agreed with the motion judge’s reasons, stating that: as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17 (CanLII), the Courts must be cautious when considering whether an entity is carrying on business in the jurisdiction, … Read More

Court of Appeal States that Security for Costs Should Not be Treated Differently for Recognition and Enforcement Actions

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

Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation, 2017 ONCA 741 arose from an action by the Plaintiffs to enforce an Ecuadorean judgment in Ontario against the Defendant.   The Defendants obtained summary judgment dismissing the Plaintiffs’ claim.  After the Plaintiffs appealed, the Defendant sought a security for costs against the Plaintiffs, who were non-Ontario residents from Ecuador.   The Plaintiffs argued that security for costs should not be ordered because of, among other reasons, the unique nature of a recognition and enforcement action.  The Plaintiffs relied on the Supreme Court of Canada decision on jurisdiction in the same action: Chevron Corp v. Yaiguaje, 2015 SCC 42, [2015] 3 S.C.R. 69.  The Plaintiffs argued that the Supreme Court’s decision required courts to treat recognition and enforcement cases in a different manner than first instance actions. The Court of Appeal confirmed that courts should take a “generous” approach in finding jurisdiction in recognition and enforcement actions. … Read More

Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Worldwide De-Indexing Order Against Google

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Appeals, Brand Protection, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, eCommerce | Online Retail, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Of Interest to US Counsel, Technology and Internet0 Comments

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. has approved the use of a worldwide injunction directing Google to de-index the defendant’s website used to facilitate the sale of goods in violation of the Equustek’s intellectual property rights. Equustek obtained an interlocutory injunction against the website owner directly, however the defendant left Canada, refused to comply with the order, and continued to sell products on their website from an unknown location. To help prevent or reduce further ongoing harm, Equustek sought for Google to de-index the site, making it less likely that a potential purchaser will discover the infringing website. Google initially agreed to de-index the result from Canadian search results on google.ca, but refused to enforce this order worldwide. It was concerned that the Canadian courts were using Google to usurp the laws of other nations, particularly on free speech issues, and potentially would force Google … Read More

Ontario Court Identifies New Presumptive Connecting Factor in Establishing Jurisdiction

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Arend v Boehm, 2017 ONSC 3424, the three Applicants in a corporate dispute applied for orders pursuant to the oppression remedy (section 248) of the Ontario Business Corporations Act in respect of BitRush, an Ontario company. The Judge noted that BitRush’s business was “reflective of the worldwide impact of business connected with the internet.”  The international character of BitRush’s business was reflected in the identity of the Respondents, who were: 1) BitRush’s CEO, an Austrian resident; 2) a former BitRush board member, also an Austrian resident; 3) BitRush’s majority shareholder, a UK company; and 4) another Austrian resident. The Applicants sought: 1) a declaration that the Respondent CEO has acted oppressively, in breach of his fiduciary duty to BitRush; 2) an order transferring shares of BitRush from the Respondent UK company to certain other stakeholders; and 3) an order that the Respondent UK company’s remaining shares in BitRush be … Read More

Possible Changes to Choice of Court Agreements and Recognition of Foreign Judgments

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Forum Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Offshore0 Comments

Ontario recently enacted the International Choice of Court Agreements Convention Act, 2017, which will give effect to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Hague Convention”) in Ontario once Canada ratifies the Hague Convention.  (Canada has not yet signed or ratified the Hague Convention.  It is not yet known when Canada will ratify the Hague Convention. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted a model implementation statute in 2010, suggesting that Canada may sign and ratify the Hague Convention.) In preparation for ratification, Ontario businesses should be aware of the Hague Convention’s key features, including: • where parties of member States have expressly agreed to a court in their contract, the court selected by parties must act in every case as long as the choice of court agreement is valid. The agreed Court does not have discretion (on forum non conveniens or other grounds) to decline jurisdiction in favour of courts of another State. • any court … Read More

Ontario’s New International Commercial Arbitration Act Now In Force

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

Ontario’s new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 (the “ICAA”) came into force on March 22, 2017. The new ICAA contains a number of changes from its predecessor, including: Adoption of the the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention”).  Essentially, Ontario has confirmed that it will recognize and enforce an arbitral award made in a state which is party to the Convention. Changes to the limitation period in which a proceeding must be commenced to enforce an arbitral award.  Both the ICAA and the Ontario domestic Arbitration Act, 1991 now provide for a 10 year limitation period to commence a proceeding to enforce an arbitration award.  (The ICAA previously provided for a two year limitation period.) Adoption of the 2006 amendments to the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law … Read More

Court of Appeal Holds that Two Year Limitation Period Applies To Foreign Judgments

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Commercial, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

There was conflicting case law in Ontario regarding whether a two-year limitation period applied to an action to enforce a foreign judgment in Ontario (from a jurisdiction to without a reciprocal enforcement agreement). The Court of Appeal addressed that conflicting case law in Independence Plaza 1 Associates, L.L.C. v. Figliolini, 2017 ONCA 44.  The debate turned on whether an action to enforce a foreign judgment was a claim within section 16(1) of the Limitations Act, 2002, which creates a class of claims to which no limitation period applies.  Specifically, the question was whether a claim to enforce a foreign judgment is a claim to “enforce an order of a court or any other order that may be enforced in the same way as an order of a court” (under section 16(1)(b)). The Court stated that a foreign judgment cannot be directly enforced in Ontario in the absence of reciprocal enforcement legislation.  A … Read More

Court Refuses to Enforce Forum Selection Clause

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In McMillan McGee Corp. v Northrop Grumman Canada, 2016 ONSC 6334, the Plaintiff sued the Defendants (“Northrop”) for damages arising from work done by the Plaintiff for the Northrop in Ontario.  Northrop’s Request for Proposals included “Purchase Order Terms and Conditions” (the “RFP Terms and Conditions”).  The RFP Terms and Conditions contained: a forum selection clause, stating that “either Party may only bring suit in federal or state court in the state from which this Order is issued”; and a choice of law clause, stating that “his Order will be construed and interpreted according to the law of the state from which this Order is issued, as identified in the Order”. “Order” was defined as “The instrument of contracting including this Purchase Order and all referenced documents”. The parties’ relationship involved three Purchase Orders, and many change orders.  The lawsuit involved invoices delivered after the Second Purchase Order. The First Purchase Order … Read More

Cross-Border Ship Mortgage Enforcement

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial, Contract Disputes, Creditors Rights, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Heavy Industries, Jurisdictional Challenges, Lenders | Borrowers, Loan and Guarantee, Marine | Maritime | Aviation, Mortgage Enforcement, Mortgage Litigation, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In an admiralty action in rem and in personam, Lakeland Bank v. Never E Nuff (Ship), 2016 FC 1096, the Federal Court dismissed the action in personam on a US mortgage, registered in New York State, against the mortgagor, a U.S.based former owner of a 38-foot pleasure craft and against its innocent purchaser for value without notice in Canada and dismissed the purchaser’s counterclaim for abuse of process, but ordered the return of a trailer and other personal items, which had been arrested in Canada with the pleasure craft, but were not covered by the mortgage. The Federal Court did however order that the action in rem be maintained and provided that the plaintiff shall promptly move for sale of the pleasure craft. The plaintiff, an American bank, held a first preferred mortgage registered at the National Vessel Documentation Center, United States Coast Guard. The bank had instituted proceedings in personam and in rem in the United States District Court, Northern District of New York, but it could … Read More

Toronto Attorneys for Enforcement of U.S. Judgments in Ontario, Canada

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

American  judgments, from either State or U.S. Federal Courts may be recognised and enforced in Ontario, Canada. The test for whether the Court of Ontario will recognize and enforce a U.S. judgment is as follows: did the U.S. Court have jurisdiction, in accordance with the principles of private international law as applied by Canadian courts? is the judgment final and conclusive? is the judgment for a definite and ascertainable sum of money or, if not a money judgment (e.g. an injunction), are its terms sufficiently clear, limited in scope and do the principles of comity require the domestic court to enforce it? The Ontario Court will also consider the following, limited defences of: fraud (i.e. whether the U.S. judgment was obtained by fraud); natural justice (i.e. whether the U.S. proceedings were contrary to Canadian notions of fundamental justice); and public policy (i.e. whether the U.S. judgment was contrary to our view … 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), 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

US Court of Appeals Reverses Lower Court Decision; Re-Opens US Trademark Infringement Claims Against Canadian Operation

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Intellectual Property, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Trader Joe’s Company v. Hallatt, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently overturned a lower court decision which had originally dismissed claims that Mr. Hallatt, a Canadian citizen but permanent resident of the United States, was violating the trademark rights of Trader Joe’s, a popular US grocery store chain, by reselling their products in Canada under the name “Pirate Joe’s” and by using an allegedly confusingly similar store design and motif. Mr. Hallatt’s business involved purchasing Trader Joe’s products in Washington state, transporting them across the border to British Columbia, and re-selling the product to Canadians at a mark-up. Trader Joe’s, which does not carry on business in Canada, sued in Washington state, claiming Mr. Hallatt was infringing on their US trademark rights. They asserted that Hallatt’s actions were damaging their trademark rights under US law. At the lower level, Trader Joe’s claims were dismissed, as … Read More

Joint Venture Disputes and International Joint Venture Arbitration

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, International Distribution, International Joint Venture, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Joint Venture Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions, a consideration which may be pivotal for its success. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some joint ventures have been held by the courts to be a partnership, while others have been determined to be merely contractual, without comprising a partnership. A myriad of considerations have been used by the courts in determining whether a joint venture is a partnership. Issues have also arisen concerning the management and operational structure of a joint venture and whether such structure necessarily results in the joint venture being found to comprise a partnership. Historically the distinction between partner and contractor has been important, since the law only imposed a fiduciary duty upon partners, and not … Read More

Court of Appeal Provides Guidance on “Forum of Necessity” Doctrine

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Arsenault v. Nunavut, 2016 ONCA 207, the Plaintiff commenced a lawsuit in Ontario regarding an employment dispute with the defendant, the government of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.  The motion judge concluded that Ontario did not have jurisdiction over the dispute because the dispute did not have a “real and substantial connection” with the province of Ontario, and that Nunavut was clearly the more appropriate forum to hear the dispute.  The Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the motion judge had not properly considered whether Ontario was the “forum of necessity” – i.e. the doctrine allowing the Court to assume jurisdiction over a dispute, even though there is no “real and substantial connection” with Ontario, because there is no other forum in which the plaintiff can reasonably seek relief (see our previous posts regarding the doctrine of “forum of necessity” here and here). The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appeal.  The Court of Appeal noted … Read More