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Category Archives: Contracts

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Is your standard form release contrary to public policy? The British Columbia Court of Appeal provides guidance

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law, Torts

Clauses that exclude, or “release”, liability are widespread and critical to risk management for many businesses. Typically, such clauses stipulate that the signee waives the right to sue if they are injured while participating in certain activities. Inevitably, in the event that the signee is injured, a variety of arguments are put forward as to… → Read More

Price Tags on Competition are a Restraint of Trade: The Functional Approach to Permissive Non-Compete Clauses Prevails in British Columbia

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Labour and Employment

In Rhebergen v. Creston Veterinary Clinic Ltd., 2014 BCCA 97, the British Columbia Court of Appeal granted the appeal of an employer veterinary clinic, Creston Veterinary Clinic (“CVC”), from a Supreme Court of British Columbia decision declaring unenforceable a contract clause requiring its employee, Dr. Stephanie Rhebergen, to pay CVC a prescribed amount in the… → Read More

Caution: An Entire Agreement Clause May Have Greater Implications Than Expected

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law

At issue in One West Holdings Ltd. v Greata Ranch Holdings Corp. et al. was whether an entire agreement clause which referred to multiple contracts could be used to incorporate an arbitration clause from one of the other contracts. The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that it could despite the fact that the contracts involved… → Read More

Are pre-contractual representations “continuing”? Even if the contracting parties change?

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law

Circumstances change and what is true today may not be true tomorrow. For that reason, some representations carry with them the obligation to advise the representee if the relevant circumstances change. These are usually referred to as “continuing” representations. But can a continuing representation carry with it the obligation to update a third party, to… → Read More

Piercing the corporate veil may be easier than you think

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law

How do corporate and personal liability intersect in a corporation that has only one officer, director and shareholder?  In the recent Shoppers Drug Mart v. 6470360 Canada Inc. case, the Court of Appeal helped to clarify when the person behind the corporation will be found liable. Background In October 2005, Shoppers Drug Mart (“Shoppers”) contracted… → Read More

“Stop and Identify” Yourself, to Avoid Personal Liability when Acting on Behalf of a Company

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law

Third parties must know exactly who they are entering into a contract with, especially when dealing with a limited liability company. That said, the identity of the true contracting party may not be clear when an officer, director or employee of a company is negotiating on behalf of the company. Indeed, third parties are generally… → Read More

SHOTGUN! You should know this before triggering a buy-sell provision

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

The following post on the Canadian M&A Perspectives blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: SHOTGUN! You should know this before triggering a buy-sell provision. On November 29, 2013, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Western Larch Limited v. Di Poce Management Limited, 2013 ONCA 722 with important lessons… → Read More

The Latest Word from the SCC on Assessment of Contractual Damages

Posted in Contracts, Labour and Employment

The recent Supreme Court decision in IBM Canada Limited v Waterman, 2013 SCC 70, has gotten much attention for its ruling and comments about the “collateral benefits” principle and how it applies to pension benefits paid to wrongfully dismissed employees during the notice period. The issue was whether the exception should apply to preclude a… → Read More

The Burden of Proof to Rectify a Contract: The Ordinary Civil Standard Applies

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

The issue Rectification is an important equitable doctrine allowing courts to rewrite contracts that erroneously record the agreement reached by the parties.  The basic requirements for rectification are well settled.  Where there is a mutual mistake, the party seeking rectification must show (i) that the parties had a common continuing intention prior to the making… → Read More

When is a Quistclose trust not a Quistclose trust? When you call it a “debt”

Posted in Aboriginal, Bankruptcy and Debt, Case Comments, Contracts

In Ontario (Training, Colleges and Universities) v. Two Feathers Forest Products LP, 2013 ONCA 598, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted the appeal of an interim receiver, Pricewaterhousecoopers Inc., from a Superior Court of Justice decision where grant funds that were advanced by the respondent, Ontario’s Minister of Training Colleges and Universities (the “Ministry”), to… → Read More

Using contract law to fix tax (and other) mistakes: the Supreme Court of Canada recognizes a rectification-like remedy under Quebec law

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Tax

The problem and the fix A taxpayer intends to undertake a transaction on a tax-efficient basis. But the transaction gets papered wrong, and the intended tax treatment is not achieved. Can the law of contract save the taxpayer by allowing a court to rewrite the contract documents retroactively in order to achieve the original intention… → Read More

The UK Supreme Court clarifies: no marshalling without an underlying debt, and maybe no marshalling in any event

Posted in Bankruptcy and Debt, Contracts, Corporate Law, Financial Services

The doctrine of marshaling has existed for centuries and was developed to address inequitable circumstances in which secured parties were unable to realize on their security. The UK Supreme Court has recently considered the doctrine in a case, Szepietowski (nee Seery) (Appellant) v The National Crime Agency (formerly the Serious Organised Crime Agency) (Respondent), which… → Read More

Hail to the Chief: McLachlin C.J.C. Becomes Canada’s Longest-Serving Chief Justice

Posted in Class Actions, Contracts, Features, Torts

Next month marks the bicentennial of the birth of Sir William Johnstone Ritchie, one of the first judges appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and Chief Justice from 1879 to 1892. Why are we thinking about him this week? Until today, he was the longest serving Chief Justice of Canada. That title now belongs… → Read More

Buyer & Seller Beware: Zoning Irregularities in Real Estate Transactions Across the Country

Posted in Case Comments, Construction and Real Estate, Contracts

In decisions recently released from the Ontario Court of Appeal and the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the courts identify which party bears the burden when zoning irregularities materialize following the close of a real estate transaction. In Lee v. 1435375 Ontario Ltd., the purchaser of a dry cleaning business was prohibited from relying upon… → Read More

Notices of Termination Likely to be Revisited by the Supreme Court of Canada

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Labour and Employment

Last week, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal from an important Quebec Court of Appeal decision on labour standards, which may bring significant changes in the interpretation of the law on notices of termination (or délai-congé) for employment contracts. In the facts of the case, Mr. Guay (hereinafter “the employee”) worked for Asphalte Desjardins… → Read More

Who Says I’ve Been Enriched? Subjective Devaluation and Revaluation in Restitution for Unjust Enrichment

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts

In an interesting decision that will no doubt influence the calculation of restitutionary awards and quantum meruit payments in Canada and elsewhere, the United Kingdom Supreme Court recently engaged in, in the words of Lord Clarke, “a wide-ranging discussion of the principles relevant to an aspect of unjust enrichment which has been the subject of lively debate among… → Read More

Lost in Contractual Interpretation: No Agreement at ABCA on Interpretation of Multiple Contracts Within a Single Transaction

Posted in Contracts, Corporate Law, Labour and Employment

In a very recent decision of the ABCA, Benfield Corporate Risk Canada Limited v. Beaufort International Insurance Inc, 2013 ABCA 200, the Court attempted to address a host of interesting contract issues, some with potentially wide implication, such as how to interpret multiple contracts within a single transaction, including the effect of entire agreement clauses… → Read More

Apportioning Liability for a Single Loss Caused By Separate Breaches of Contract

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Torts

Contributory negligence legislation allows liability to be apportioned between tortfeasors – but what about defendants who are severally liable for a single loss caused by independent breaches of contract? In Petersen Pontiac Buick GMC (Alta.) Ltd. v. Campbell, 2013 ABCA 251, counsel for both parties could find no authority on the issue of apportioning liability… → Read More

The Rascal Returns: The Supreme Court Reaffirms Doctrine of Constructive Trust in Nishi v. Rascal Trucking Ltd.

Posted in Case Comments, Class Actions, Construction and Real Estate, Contracts, Corporate Law, Manufacturing, Municipal

The Supreme Court has issued its decision in the case of Nishi v. Rascal Trucking Ltd., 2013 SCC 33, clarifying the scope of the resulting trust doctrine, in the commercial context. The Court reaffirmed its own precedent and refused to abolish well-established doctrine in the absence of a “compelling” reason for doing so, strong dissents… → Read More

UK Supreme Court Confirms – No Breach of Confidence without a Breach… or Confidence

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Manufacturing

Introduction In a knowledge economy protection of trade secrets is critical to a corporation’s continued success and profitability. The misuse of trade secrets by competitors can be devastating to a corporation’s position in the marketplace. That is particularly true when it is ex-employees who are misusing trade secrets to compete against their former employer. In… → Read More

Court of Appeal Accepts Ontario Jurisdiction Despite Forum Selection Clause for Germany

Posted in Case Comments, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Torts

During the spring of 2012, the Canadian Appeals Monitor posted a five-part series on the Supreme Court’s judgments in Van Breda, Black, and Éditions Écosociété (the “Van Breda Trilogy”). The Van Breda Trilogy was the Supreme Court’s long anticipated reformulation of the common law principles of private international law. Since the release of the Van Breda Trilogy,… → Read More

Australian Fraudsters: Definition of Concurrent Wrongdoer Tied to Loss

Posted in Case Comments, Contracts, Criminal

When is a fraudulent and negligent tortfeasor a “concurrent wrongdoer”? In Hunt & Hunt Lawyers v. Mitchell Morgan Nominees, the High Court of Australia has clarified the definition of a concurrent wrongdoer finding that liability can be apportioned under Part 4 of the Civil Liability Act where the damage caused by one or more concurrent… → Read More