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

This Week at the SCC (05/07/2013)

A Commentary on Recent Legal Developments by the Opinions Group of McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Posted in This Week at the SCC
Hovsep Afarian

The Supreme Court of Canada released reasons for judgment in one case and denied leave to appeal in two cases of interest to Canadian business and professions.

In Canadian National Railway Co. v. McKercher LLP, 2013 SCC 39, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a law firm breached its duty to avoid conflicting interests, its duty of commitment to its client’s cause, and its duty of candour to its client when it, without its client’s consent or knowledge, accepted a significant retainer against its client and terminated various retainers with its client in the process.  However, the Supreme Court of Canada sent the matter back to the court of first instance to determine whether these breaches of the duty of loyalty warranted disqualifying the firm from acting against its former client, given that the firm did not possess relevant confidential information that could be used against its former client.

In Hogarth et al v. Simonson, the Supreme Court of Canada declined leave to hear an appeal of a decision of the Alberta Court of Court which grappled with the issue of whether a corporate officer who commits the tort of negligent misrepresentation while acting in course of his duties has immunity from personal liability.

In Richards v. Media Experts M.H.S. Inc et al, the Supreme Court of Canada refused leave to appeal a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal which extended the protection of a limitation of liability clause to an executive chairman of a corporate employer who was alleged to have committed a tort in the course of terminating the appellant.

The McCarthy Tétrault Opinions Group consists of members of the firm’s litigation department whose practices focus on written advocacy and the provision of strategic advice and opinions in the context of complex business disputes and transactions.  The members of the Opinions Group are Anthony Alexander, Martin Boodman, Brandon Kain, Hovsep Afarian and Kirsten Thompson.