The Supreme Court of Canada yesterday refused the plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decertification decision in Wakelam v. Wyeth et al. Wakelamis a claim against various manufacturers of children’s cough and cold medication for relief due to the manufacturers’ sale of the medicines prior to a Health Canada order requiring such medicines not be marketed for children under six years of age and requiring re-labelling to that effect. The case was certified in 2011.
Early this year, the British Columbia Court of Appeal made the rare (in B.C.) order to decertify the case. In reaching this decision, the Court made two findings of particular interest to class action defendants: that the plaintiffs failed to make out their main claims pursuant to the “reasonable cause of action” requirement; and that both the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and Competition Act provide a “complete code” such that marrying the alleged breaches of these statutes with claims for restitutionary or other non-statutory relief was inappropriate. These findings are described in more detail HERE.
The plaintiffs sought leave to appeal the decertification order to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has recently shown significant interest in hearing class action cases as summarized HERE.
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused leave to appeal Wakelam, such that the decertification decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal stands as the final word on those issues between the parties. As such, this decision remains a useful authority for many class action defendants in B.C.