Canadian Appeals Monitor Information and Commentary on Upcoming and Recent Appeal Court Decisions

Monthly Archives: June 2012

“Idea Theft” Lawsuits Gain New Life in United States

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Intellectual Property, Media

Introduction

In a case with several important echoes to Canadian appellate law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has revived the actor’s Hayden Christensen’s “idea theft” lawsuit against the USA Network this week in the Forest Park Pictures v. Universal Television Network Inc. decision.

Background

In 2005, the plaintiffs developed a concept for a television show called “Housecall,” in which a doctor, after being expelled from the medical community for treating patients who could not pay, moved to Malibu, California, and became a “concierge” doctor to the rich and famous. The plaintiffs created a written series … Continue Reading

SCC to Consider Conflict of Interest Rule

Posted in Case Previews, Professions

Introduction

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal in Canadian National Railway v. McKercher LLP et al., which raises significant issues relating to conflicts of interest, legal ethics, and the appropriate balance to be struck between the courts and the law societies in regulating the legal profession.

Perhaps most importantly, the case will require the Court to consider the “bright-line rule” and the related “professional litigant exception.” This rule was first articulated in R. v. Neil, and was subsequently re-affirmed in Strother v. 3464920 Canada Inc.. It provides:

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Can the Queen Be Taken at Her Word? Federal Court of Appeal Answers in Canada v. South Yukon Forest Corporation

Posted in Administrative, Case Comments, Construction and Real Estate, Contracts, Energy, Torts

The Federal Court of Appeal has clarified when the federal Crown will be held responsible for representations made by its officers. In issuing its decision, the Court opted for a narrow interpretation of the Crown’s liability and reiterated that parties that rely on the Crown’s representations have the responsibility to conduct their own due diligence.

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The Court of Appeal Clarifies Interplay Between the Limitations Act, 2002 and the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000

Posted in Case Comments, Franchise and Distribution

In 2130489 Ontario Inc. v. Philthy McNasty’s (Enterprises) Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) clarified how the limitation period in the Limitations Act, 2002 (Limitations Act) interacts with the time periods for rescission set out in the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (Act).

According to the Court, where a franchisee seeks access to the courts to enforce its statutory rescission rights under the Act, the general two-year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act will only be triggered once the franchisee “discovers” that the franchisor does not intend to comply with the financial obligations set … Continue Reading

Order in the Court? The Van Breda Trilogy – Part IV – Choice of Law

Posted in Conflict of Laws, Features, Media, Procedure, Torts, Van Breda Trilogy

At the Supreme Court of Canada, choice of law has always been the poor cousin of private international law. While the Court has shown fascination with jurisdiction simpliciter, forum non conveniens and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments – cases such as Morguard, Amchem, Hunt, Beals, Pro Swing and Teck Cominco come to mind – it has issued but a single judgment, Tolofson, that addresses choice of law in the modern era. The comments of American scholar Laurence Tribe, cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Unifund, describe the traditional situation

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SCC to Determine Whether Provincial Workplace Safety Legislation Bars Negligence Claims for Deaths and Accidents at Sea

Posted in Case Previews, Labour and Employment, Torts, Transportation

Newfoundland (Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission) v. Ryan Estate will provide an opportunity for the Supreme Court of Canada to reconsider the constitutional issues of interjurisdictional immunity and paramountcy since its landmark decision in Ordon Estate v. Grail.

In Ordon Estate, the Supreme Court held that provincial legislative provisions providing for derivative claims for dependents of injured persons in tort did not apply to claims based on federal maritime law, which was part of the “core” of navigation and shipping under s. 91(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Following Ordon Estate, Parliament enacted s. 6

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SCC Addresses Test for “Federal Undertakings” under the Constitution

Posted in Case Comments, Constitutional, Labour and Employment

When do parties qualify as federal transportation undertakings for purpose of s. 92(10) of the Constitution Act, 1867? This question arose in Tessier v. Québec (Commission de la santé et sécurité du travail), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision rendered on May 17, 2012.

This case differs from those previously decided by the SCC, in that it is the first time the SCC had the opportunity to assess the constitutional implications which arise when the employees performing the work do not form a discrete unit and are instead fully integrated into the related operation.

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A Rascal of a Doctrine: The Elusive Definition of Resulting Trust

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Case Previews, Class Actions, Contracts

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently granted leave to appeal from the judgment of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Edward Sumio Nishi v. Rascal Trucking Ltd. This appeal focuses on the test for a resulting trust in the commercial context. The decision will be of interest to a broad range of business enterprises and commercial counsel.

Background

The action arose out of a purchase of land by two business partners. Hans Heringa, a successful civil engineer and owner of Rascal Trucking Ltd. (“Rascal”) developed a property located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, with Cidalia Plavetic, a

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