36248   Sheila Maguire v. Northwest Organics, et al.

Civil procedure – Summary judgment – SLAPP

On appeal from the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. The applicant, Ms. Maguire, opposed the development of a composting facility by the respondents, Northwest Organics, L.P. and Northwest Properties Inc. (“Northwest”).  Northwest filed a notice of civil claim against her for defamation.  Ms. Maguire contended that the lawsuit was a SLAPP suit intended to intimidate her and restrict her expressive freedom.  She sought an order to dismiss it pursuant to Rules 9-5 and 9-6 of the B.C.Supreme Court Civil Rules.

Ms. Maguire argued that in SLAPP cases, Rules 9-5 and 9-6 should be interpreted in accordance withCharter values of freedom of expression, access to justice and protection of reputation, and proposed that a novel two-part test be applied in those cases.  Under that test, a claim involving expression in the public interest would be summarily dismissed if it did not involve significant injury to reputation or if it did not have a significant likelihood of success. The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the application on the basis that the proposed test represented a substantive change to the law of defamation, not simply a change in the rules of civil practice, and that such a change was more properly to be undertaken by the legislature or by higher courts with a full evidentiary record.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36283   Jennifer Tanudjaja, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Ontario

Charter of Rights — Right to life, liberty and security of the person — Right to equality

The application alleges that actions and inaction on the part of Canada and Ontario have resulted in homelessness and inadequate housing in violation of the right to life, liberty and security of the person under s. 7 of the Charter and the right to equality under s. 15 of the Charter.  It requested declarations that the governments of Canada and Ontario have created conditions that lead to homelessness and inadequate housing; that they have failed to effectively address those problems; that they have obligations pursuant to ss. 7 and 15 to implement effective national and provincial strategies to reduce and eliminate those problems; and that their failure to implement effective national and provincial strategies to those ends violates the applicants’ life, liberty and security of the person contrary to s. 7 and their right to equality contrary to s. 15(1).  They also requested an order that the governments implement effective national and provincial strategies to reduce and eliminate homelessness and inadequate housing in consultation with affected groups, and an order that the Superior Court of Justice shall remain seized of supervisory jurisdiction to address concerns regarding implementation of the order requested.  The Attorneys General for Canada and Ontario brought motions to strike the application, saying that it did not disclose a reasonable cause of action and raised issues that are not justiciable.

The motions judge granted the motions to strike, and a majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with Feldman J.A. dissenting.

36306   [C.M.] v. [L.L.], [V.L.]

Contracts – Consent

On appeal from the Quebec Court of Appeal. On May 4, 2012, the applicant’s son died in a motor vehicle accident.  There followed various disputes over the devolution of the deceased’s property and, ultimately, an application to annul two transactions entered into on September 27, 2013 as a result of a settlement conference. The Quebec Superior Court dismissed the applicant’s application to annul the transactions and the Court of Appeal dismissed the motion for leave to appeal.

36255    Jean Maynard v. Canada Revenue Agency

Taxation – Search warrants – Review

On appeal from the Quebec Court of Appeal. On the basis of an information laid by an investigator, Judge De Carufel authorized the Canada Revenue Agency to execute six search warrants to find evidence to establish tax evasion and fraud offences allegedly committed by the applicant.  The applicant then served a motion for certiorari.  He asked that four of the warrants be quashed and sought a declaration that the seizures were unlawful, unreasonable and of no effect and an order to return the seized items to him.  The applicant alleged that the investigator had deliberately and/or recklessly failed to disclose some important and necessary information that would have enabled the judge to make an informed decision.

The Superior Court dismissed the action and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

36278    Daniel Beaulieu, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen - and between - Martin Robert, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen

Criminal law – Right of Attorney General to Appeal

On appeal from the Quebec Court of Appeal. In a criminal trial, a judge directed a stay of proceedings on certain counts but allowed the trial to proceed on other counts. The Attorney General appealed and the accused filed motions to dismiss the appeal. The Quebec Court of Appeal dismissed the motion to dismiss the appeal.

36370    Frederick Bernard Anthony Prosser v. Her Majesty the Queen

Criminal Law – Charge to Jury – Evidence

On appeal from the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick. The Crown alleged that Mr. Prosser sexually assaulted and then fatally strangled his girlfriend. DNA experts who testified at trial gave opinion evidence linking the victim and Mr. Prosser. Their testimony was critical to the Crown’s case. Defence counsel argued that the factual underpinnings of the opinions were not adduced in evidence because the experts’ opinions were based on data supplied by laboratory technicians, none of the technicians testified, and the experts had no supervision over the technicians. Defence counsel argued that the jury should be instructed to accord minimal or no weight to the DNA evidence. The trial judge did not give the requested instruction. Mr. Prosser was convicted by jury of first degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and sexual assault. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal.

36224    InStorage Limited Partnership and InStorage Trustee Corp. v. Matthew Brady Self Storage Corporation

Contracts – Non-performance – Specific Performance

On appeal from the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The corporate parties were in the business of developing and managing self-storage facilities. In 2007, their principals agreed to jointly purchase a vacant factory in Windsor and convert it into a self-storage facility. The deal was originally structured so that each side would pay 50 percent of the $2 million purchase price for 50 percent of the equity during the period of time it took Matthew Brady Self Storage Corporation (“MBSS”) to complete the retro-fit conversion. The plan was that the applicant (collectively “InStorage”) would ultimately purchase the whole property from MBSS. At the time, however, InStorage had insufficient money for its share of the purchase price. MBSS agreed to pay the entire purchase price and would be the sole owner pending completion of the project. The parties also entered into an Option Agreement on February 18, 2008 that contained two “Put” clauses, allowing MBSS to force InStorage to buy out MBSS’s interest and two “Call” provisions allowing InStorage to force MBSS to sell the property to it. In the event of a Put or a Call, the parties would have 15 days to agree on the purchase price. Failing an agreement, Valco Consulting Inc. (“Valco”) was to be retained to determine the purchase price and “in the absence of manifest error”, Valco’s determination of “Fair Market Value” would bind the parties. On July 21, 2009, more than a year after substantial completion, MBSS exercised the Put option. In the meantime, InStorage was the subject of a hostile take-over by a U.S. based corporation. It refused to complete the purchase. Valco placed the value of the building at $7.3 million. The applicant’s position was that it was worth less than $5 million. MBSS sued for specific performance. The Ontario Superior Court issued an order for specific performance of the commercial contract, damages and costs. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Applicant’s appeal.

36327    P.W.M. Loss Prevention Services Inc. v. Miguel Lay, et al.

Courts – Appeals

On appeal from the Court of Appeal of Alberta. On March 8, 2010, the respondent, Miguel Lay, filed a complaint with Employment Standards alleging that he was terminated from his employment with the applicant, P.W.M. Loss Prevention Services Inc., and was owed outstanding wages, overtime pay, vacation pay and general holiday pay. On or about June 30, 2010, the matter proceeded to the office of the Director of the Employment and Immigration Standards Program, and the Registrar took carriage of the complaint. It appears that the complaint sat in abeyance until June 21, 2011, when the Program’s new Registrar took charge of it after his predecessor’s departure. On June 24, 2011 the Director granted a one-year extension to Mr. Lay’s complaint due to extenuating circumstances, pursuant to section 90(3) of the Employment Standards Code, R.S.A. 2000, c. E-9. The extenuating circumstances were that the previous Registrar was in the process of leaving and the limitation period was inadvertently missed. The new Registrar determined that Mr. Lay should not suffer as a consequence of such a lapse. PWM then commenced an application for judicial review of the decision to extend the limitation period.

The Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the applicant’s application for judicial review. The Alberta Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s application for leave to appeal.

36319     Wayne White v. City of Montréal and Attorney General of Quebec

Civil liability – Appeal – Leave to appeal

On appeal from the Court of Appeal of Quebec. On August 17, 2011, the applicant had an altercation with an off-duty police officer who resided on his street. The events led to the applicant’s arrest by police officers of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, and to charges against the applicant on three counts: using violence against a justice system participant, criminal harassment and assault. The charges were later dropped at the preliminary inquiry.

Following those events, the applicant commenced an action against the City of Montréal and the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales. He claimed $65,000 in damages caused by the false accusations brought against him. Lewis J. of the Court of Quebec dismissed the applicant’s action, finding that the police officers acted reasonably and did not commit any fault. The Court of Appeal of Quebec dismissed the applicant’s motion for an extension of time to seek leave to appeal, holding that his appeal had no reasonable chance of success.

36316    Brian Leigh Flanagan v. Attorney General of Canada, et al.

Employment Law – RCMP relationship with Crown

On appeal from the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. After 25 years as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mr. Flanagan was granted a voluntary discharge in 2005 after a dispute with his superiors concerning his alcohol consumption.  He contends that the discharge constitutes a constructive, wrongful dismissal.  In 2007, he commenced an action for damages. The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the action and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.