Further to my blog posts in respect to scheduling urgent hearings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for commercial lease matters and real estate closings, an urgent hearing was recently granted in an enforcement matter involving a contempt hearing against a judgment debtor.
In Morris v. Onca, 2020 ONSC 1805, the judgment creditor had obtained default judgment in November 2019 for repayment of funds obtained by fraud. The judgment creditor took steps to enforce the default judgment, including conducting examinations in aid of execution, but the process was frustrated by the judgment debtor’s refusal to answer relevant questions and his failure to comply with court orders to produce documents. The judgment debtor did not dispute the adjudged amount was owed to the judgment creditor but provided numerous excuses for his failure to pay the default judgment and to produce documents in accordance with court orders.
The judgment creditor had previously scheduled a motion to take place on April 27, 2020 but it was adjourned pursuant to the Notice to the Profession dated March 15, 2020.
The judgment creditor sought an urgent hearing of the motion, in addition to other relief, because she had an upcoming real estate transaction which she was at risk of defaulting if she did not collect on the default judgment before the closing in August 2020. Further, the judgment creditor stated that the judgment debtor was a flight risk because he had been moving assets abroad in order to avoid enforcement efforts. Justice Myers found that the matter was time sensitive and urgent within the meaning in the Notice to the Profession and ordered a case conference to schedule the urgent hearing.
At the case conference, the judgment debtor claimed that the funds were invested through a brokerage account in the Seychelles Island but the account was frozen due to the judgment creditor’s efforts to access the funds. He also claimed that a settlement agreement had been entered into wherein he agreed to provide full payment of the default judgment in two tranches on April 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, and he intended to pay the settlement amounts with funds from bank accounts in his mother’s name in France.
Justice Myers scheduled the hearing of the judgment creditor’s adjourned motion for contempt and other relief, by crafting a clever three-part schedule based on the judgment debtor’s claims and whether or not he followed through with his claims, as follows:
- If the judgment debtor failed to pay the first tranche by April 10, 2020, then the motion will be heard on April 17, 2020;
- If the judgment debtor paid the first tranche by April 6, 2020, but did not pay the second tranche by April 27, 2020, then the motion will be heard on April 27, 2020; and
- If the judgment debtor paid the first tranche by April 6, 2020 and the second tranche by April 27, 2020, then the motion may be cancelled.
If you require legal advice or legal representation in respect to urgent debt recovery and enforcement matters before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, please contact us for an initial consultation.