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 Appeal concluded that as a result, Ontario has jurisdiction simpliciter.

Here, the Ontario Court of Appeal provides insight into what they are looking for when appeals are heard, as they state:

“As a court of error correction, we require reasons that reveal, at a minimum, the decision made, the authority for the decision, the rationale for the decision, and the factual basis for the decision. Where that basic information is not provided or is not readily apparent from the record, the reasons do not permit appellate review.”

In this case, the motion judge’s reasons were held to be inadequate as they were not “amenable to appellate review” due to various errors in analysis, and as such the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal from the motion judge’s orders dismissing the appellants’ claim based upon a foreign limitation period.

While the crux of the case was on errors in analysis surrounding whether this was a claim in tort or contract, it is worth noting that the Ontario Court of Appeal stated that in this case there was no dispute that the limitation periods for the law of the Dominican Republic is six months for negligence claims and two years for contract claims. This is a particularly useful for practitioners, as every year many Canadians visit the Dominican Republic.

Please see Gilbertson Davis LLP’s related practice areas webpages on  Cross-Border Litigation, Travel and Tourism, and Civil Litigation.

If you require legal advice regarding these practice areas, please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP for an initial consultation.


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About the Author
Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)

Janice is a summer student at Gilbertson Davis LLP. Janice graduated at the top of her undergraduate program where she cultivated strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Bio | Contact

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