Enforceability of Non-Compete Clauses in a Business Sale Upheld by Ontario Court of Appeal

Tyler O’HenlyAppeals, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Disputes, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Employment, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Clause, Sale of Business Claims, Sale of Business Disputes0 Comments

In Dr. C. Sims Dentistry Professional Corporation v. Cooke, 2024 ONCA 388, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that restrictive covenants negotiated as part of the sale of a business must be treated differently by courts than those contained in employment contracts. The dispute arose from an agreement of purchase and sale between two dentists for a dentistry practice in Hamilton, Ontario (the “APS”). The APS contained a non-solicitation/non-competition provision, which prohibited the vendor from practicing dentistry within 15 km of the practice for a period of five years post-closing (the “Noncompete Provision”). About three years after the purchase and sale, the vendor began working at a separate practice in a location that violated the Noncompete Provision, and the purchaser commenced an action to enforce it. The purchaser was successful at trial, and the vendor made this appeal. In his appeal, the vendor submitted that the trial judge incorrectly placed … Read More

Ontario Court Favours Place of Arbitration over Forum Selection Clause in Asset Purchase Agreement

Tyler O’HenlyAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Appeals, Arbitration, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Business Disputes, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Forum Challenges, International Litigation, Jurisdictional Challenges, Sale of Business Arbitrator, Sale of Business Claims, Sale of Business Disputes0 Comments

In Tehama Group Inc v. Pythian Services Inc., 2024 ONSC 1819, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that the place of an arbitration, not a forum selection clause in a contract, determines the jurisdiction that recourse against an arbitral award must be taken in. The litigants were parties to a cross-border asset purchase agreement (the “APA”). The APA included an arbitration clause for disputes regarding the calculation of the purchase price, and the parties appointed “the Toronto office” of an accounting firm as arbitrator for these disputes. The APA also included broad forum selection and governing law clauses, which required “any suit, action or other proceeding arising out of this Agreement” to be brought exclusively in the courts of New York and in accordance with its laws. A dispute arose regarding an earnout clause in the APA, and the parties proceeded to arbitration.  When the Toronto-based arbitrator rendered an … Read More

Letters of credit and the fraud exception: Supreme Court examines applicability to fraud by a third party

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Loan and Guarantee0 Comments

A letter of credit or a bank guarantee is an autonomous instrument that is issued by a financial institution on the directions of a customer. The letter of credit seeks to underwrite the customer’s obligations to the beneficiary under the distinct underlying contract. It entitles the beneficiary to payment on demand from the issuing bank, so long as that demand strictly complies with the requirements set out in the letter of credit. The obligation of the financial institution to pay when presented with a valid demand is near absolute. The only recognized exception in Canadian law is when there is fraud by the beneficiary that is brought to the financial institution’s attention prior to payment. In Eurobank Ergasias S.A. v. Bombardier Inc. 2024 SCC 11 (CanLII), the Supreme Court of Canada examined  a critical issue of when an issuing bank is required to refuse to honour a demand for payment … Read More

Failure to Comply with Court Order can Result in Dismissal of Case

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Litigation0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), Steinberg v. Adderley, 2023 ONCA 725, the ONCA dismissed the appellant’s appeal of an order finding him in contempt of a court order and dismissing his action. In this case, the appellant was ordered by two different judges to attend at a medical examination, but failed to do so. As a result, the respondent brought a motion to find the appellant in contempt of the orders, which motion was granted. At the hearing of the appeal of the motion judge’s decision, the appellant argued that the motion judge erred by not treating contempt as an order of last resort and by not accepting the appellant’s excuse for failing to comply with previous court orders, being that he was allegedly unable to travel in order to attend the medical examination. The ONCA rejected the appellant’s grounds for appeal, stating that … Read More

Ontario Court of Appeal Comments on the Oppression Remedy – Oppression is Focused on Fairness and Equity, not on Legal Rights

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Dispute Arbitrator0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), Pereira v. TYLT Technologies Inc. (TYLTGO), 2023 ONCA 682, the appellant successfully appealed a judgment dismissing his application for an oppression remedy under the Canada Business Corporations Act, RSC 1985, c C-44 (the “CBCA”). The appellant argued that the application judge erred in only considering the appellant’s expectations as an employee and failing to consider his expectations as a shareholder. The ONCA opined that the application judge took an “overly narrow” approach by placing focus mostly on the documents signed by the parties and not considering all of the circumstances. The ONCA considered some of the major principles related to the oppression remedy, including the following: Oppression is an equitable remedy which seeks to ensure fairness. Thus, conduct found to be oppressive does not need to be “unlawful” per se, because oppression is focused on “fairness and equity”, rather … Read More

Recognition of Foreign Judgments – Judgment is Enforceable Regardless of Pending Appeal

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments0 Comments

In the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“ONSC”), Acteon v. Verona Medical Group, 2023 ONSC 5140, the plaintiff was successful in obtaining the recognition of a judgment issued by a court in France, the Commercial Court of Bordeaux (the “Summary Proceeding Judgment”), albeit the ONSC stayed the plaintiff’s ability to enforce the Summary Proceeding Judgment in Ontario pending the defendants’ appeal of a related judgment (the “Merits Proceeding Judgment”) in France. The main contentious issue in this recognition proceeding was the defendants’ position that the plaintiff’s Summary Proceeding Judgment was not “final” because of the defendants’ appeal of the Merits Proceeding Judgment in France. The plaintiff’s legal expert advised the ONSC that though the Summary Proceeding Judgment was a “provisional award”, it was still “final, valid, binding and fully enforceable”. The defendants’ legal expert disagreed, positing that the Summary Proceeding Judgment was only an interim decision … Read More

Bald and Unsubstantiated Allegations May Lift the Presumptive Limit on Costs of $50,000 in anti-SLAPP Motions

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation0 Comments

We recently blogged on the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) decision in Park Lawn Corporation v. Kahu Capital Partners Ltd., 2023 ONCA 129, where the ONCA advised that costs awards in motions brought under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act, a provision introduced in 2015 to prevent strategic lawsuits against public participation (“SLAPP”), should not generally exceed $50,000 on a full indemnity basis (as the procedure was meant to be “efficient and inexpensive”). In an even more recent decision of the ONCA, Boyer v. Callidus Capital Corporation, 2023 ONCA 311, the ONCA rejected the respondent’s submission that the successful appellant’s claim for costs of $273,111.22 on a full indemnity basis was excessive, citing to the Park Lawn decision referenced above. The ONCA opined that the statutory presumption under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act is that the successful moving party be awarded its full indemnity costs … Read More

Stay of Court Proceedings in Favour of Arbitration – Standard of Proof

Gilbertson Davis LLPAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Appeals, Arbitration, Business Disputes, Business Law, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Mediators0 Comments

In the recent decision Husky Food Importers & Distributors Ltd. v. JH Whittaker & Sons Limited, 2023 ONCA 260, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) reviewed the law of international commercial arbitration, and in particular opined on the issue of the standard of proof that a party needs to meet in order for the court to grant a stay of a court proceeding pursuant to section 9 of the International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 (the “Act”), in favour or arbitration. Section 9 of the Act states as follows: Where, pursuant to article II (3) of the Convention or article 8 of the Model Law, a court refers the parties to arbitration, the proceedings of the court are stayed with respect to the matters to which the arbitration relates. The appellant submitted that the proper analytical framework for assessing a request to stay an action under the Act was set out in the … Read More

COVID Vaccination – Can You Force Your Child to Be Vaccinated?

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

In O.M.S. v E.J.S., 2023 SKCA 8, a Saskatchewan father recently tried, and failed, to get a court to order that his 13-year-old daughter be vaccinated against Covid-19. The case illustrates some of the key principles that courts regularly apply when making determinations about medical treatments in the face of disagreements between separated or divorced parents. In this case, the parents had been separated since 2012. The parents had a high conflict relationship with numerous court attendances. Their daughter lived primarily with the mother, and under the terms of the decision-making responsibility (“custody”) arrangement, the mother had final decision-making responsibility over medical matters. The mother was opposed to vaccinations in general and questioned the accuracy of Covid-19 information circulated by public health authorities. She did not want their daughter to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The daughter was also opposed to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. The father wanted their daughter to … Read More

To Sue or Not to Sue? Failure to Sue = No Compensation

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Liability, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

In Griffiths v. Zambosco, 2001 CanLII 24097 (ON CA), the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) concluded that failure to sue is a bar to recovery of any compensation, even if the party to a lawsuit may otherwise have been entitled to compensation had she sued. In this case the Plaintiff sued the Appellant for negligence in respect of a vendor take back mortgage to the Plaintiff and his then-wife. The Plaintiff’s ex-wife refused to join the proceeding as a plaintiff and so the Plaintiff added her as a defendant. The trial judge found that the Appellant was negligent and awarded damages of close to $300,000 to both the Plaintiff and his ex-wife (almost $150,000 each). On appeal, the ONCA agreed with the trial judge that the Appellant owed a duty of care to both the Plaintiff and to the Plaintiff’s ex-wife. However, the ONCA did not agree with the trial … Read More

Court of Appeal Reiterates Limited Scope of Judicial Intervention to Set Aside Arbitral Awards

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, By-laws, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Condos, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Condo Arbitrator, Condo Litigation, Industrial Condos, Residential Condos0 Comments

In the recent Court of Appeal decision of Mensula Bancorp Inc. v. Halton Condominium Corporation No. 137, the Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision setting aside an arbitrator’s award, on the basis that the approach taken by the learned application judge was contrary to that mandated by Alectra Utilities Corporation v. Solar Power Network Inc., 2019 ONCA 254, 145 O.R. (3d) 481, leave to appeal refused, [2019] S.C.C.A. No. 202 (Alectra). Background The Halton Condominium Corporation 137 (HCC 137) located in Oakville has 82 residential units and 166 parking units located within it’s parking garage, along with common elements such as a lobby and elevators. The parking units comprise of parking for the residential unit owners (the Residential Parking) along with 43 commercial parking units (the Commercial Parking) owned by the defendant Mensula Bancorp Inc. (Mensula), Mensula does not own any residential units and its business is located … Read More

How to Set Aside (Cancel) a Separation Agreement: Part 1

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Cohabitation Agreements, Family Law, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

Courts generally respect the arrangements negotiated by parties in separation agreements. However, under the Family Law Act, there are several grounds on which a court can “set aside” (cancel) a separation agreement. A party seeking to set aside a separation agreement must show the court their matter falls within one of these grounds and then convince the court to exercise its discretion in their favor and set aside the agreement. A recent case illustrates two of the most common grounds to set aside a separation agreement: (i) if a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the domestic contract; and (ii) where there is duress, undue influence, fraud, misrepresentation, or for public policy reasons. Radosevich v Harvey involved an appeal of a lower court decision. The appellant, Ms. Radosevich, had sued her former family law lawyer, Ms. Harvey, for being negligent in the negotiation of her separation agreement. … Read More

Undocumented Trusts – No Requirement for Formal Trust Agreements

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Recreational Property Litigation, Trust Litigation0 Comments

In the recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), Corvello v. Colucci, 2022 ONCA 159, the ONCA confirmed that a trust can exist even where there is no written trust agreement. At issue in the case was the ownership of a land use permit which allowed the holder(s) of the permit to build on and use the land for recreational purposes. In the court of first instance, the appellant took the position that the permit belonged to him alone. However, the trial judge determined that the appellant actually held the permit “in trust for himself and the respondents as beneficial owners”. On appeal, the appellant argued that the trial judge erred in law and in fact by determining that an undocumented trust agreement existed. The ONCA advised that it is trite law that a valid trust requires “three certainties: certainty of intention to create a trust, certainty of … Read More

Waiving a Contractual Right May Not Be as Easy as You Might Think!

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation0 Comments

In the recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), Jack Ganz Consulting Ltd. v. Recipe Unlimited Corporation, 2021 ONCA 907, the ONCA set aside the decision of the motion judge which dismissed the plaintiff’s claim on a motion for summary judgment brought by the respondent. The ONCA opined that the motion judge made an error in law by finding that the appellant had waived the auto renewal provision of the consulting agreement that forms the basis of the dispute. The motion judge’s decision stems largely from the appellant’s representative’s email in which he stated “Let this email serve to remove the auto renewal from the contract”. The motion judge found that this email resulted in a waiver of the auto renewal provision of the consulting agreement by the appellant, and that the waiver was accepted by the respondent in a subsequent email. Though the ONCA conceded that a … Read More

Arbitration and Summary Judgment – Is Summary Judgment Available in Arbitration Matters?

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration0 Comments

In the arbitration preceding the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“OSCJ”) decision, Optiva Inc. v, Tbaytel, 2021 ONSC 2929 (CanLII), the respondent successfully brought a motion for summary judgment before a sole arbitrator. The applicant then appealed the arbitrator’s award to the OSCJ, arguing, among other things, that the arbitrator could not, absent consent of the applicant, proceed by way of summary judgment. The OSCJ disagreed with the respondent’s position, instead affirming that the “arbitrator could elect to proceed by summary judgment absent the consent of [the applicant]”. The court cited, as authority for its conclusion, section 20(1) of the Arbitration Act, which states: 20 (1) The arbitral tribunal may determine the procedure to be followed in the arbitration, in accordance with this Act. The OSCJ opined that “summary judgment should be available to the parties in an arbitration subject to the requirement” that the process: Allows the arbitrator to … Read More

Motion by Arbitrator | Application by Arbitrator | Procedure Arbitration

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Lawyer, Qualified Arbitrator and MediatorAppeals, Application by Arbitrator, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Case Management Arbitrator, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Arbitrator, Motion by Arbitrator, Moving Litigation to Arbitration0 Comments

TorontoArbitrator.com  Sole Arbitrator – from $450.00 per hour, plus HST Access to Justice  Parties Agree That Motions & Applications be Heard and Determined by an Arbitrator  Lawyers are already doing this to address the needs of their clients in existing civil and commercial litigation in the courts. The courts in Ontario continue to address access to justice in the time of the coronavirus, providing a triage process to determine which matters are considered urgent and should be heard. Video conference arrangements in the courts have evolved.  We are mindful that both criminal and family law matters are likely to take priority both now and when traditional hearings become available post-coronavirus. Due to the current difficulty in obtaining an early date for the hearing of a motion or of an application, commercial and civil litigation lawyers are proactively addressing their client’s needs by arbitrating motions and application.  They agree to do … Read More

Recognition of Foreign Judgments – Supreme Court Leaves Determination of Enforceability of “Ricochet Judgments” for another day – Update on Previous Blog

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments0 Comments

This is an update on our blog, Recognition of Foreign Judgments – The Ontario Courts will not Recognize Enforcement Orders (a.k.a. “Ricochet Judgments”), regarding the Superior Court decision in H.M.B. Holdings Ltd. v. Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda, 2021 ONSC 2307 (CanLII). That decision has been appealed up to the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”), which has now also rendered its decision. In dismissing the appeal, the SCC agreed with the application judge, and with the Court of Appeal, that Ontario’s Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act (the “Act”) bars the plaintiff (appellant) from registering a default judgment that it obtained in British Columbia to enforce a judgment granted by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The SCC advised that the Act only applies to (1) reciprocating jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, and (2) judgments or orders of a court in a civil proceeding where a sum of money … Read More