The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in DBDC Spadina Ltd. v. Walton, 2018 ONCA 60 is significant for being one of the first to cite the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Deloitte & Touche v. Livent Inc. (Receiver of), 2017 SCC 63. Blair J.A., writing for the majority of the Court of Appeal, cites Livent for the proposition that the doctrine of corporate identification may be applied less stringently in the civil context where a massive, complex fraud is involved in order to affix a corporation with the fault of its directing mind. … Continue Reading
In Mennillo v. Intramodal Inc. 2016 SCC 51, the most recent consideration of the oppression remedy by the Supreme Court of Canada (released on November 18, 2016), the majority confirmed the oppression remedy’s equitable purpose, and held that a corporation’s failure to comply with the CBCA does not, on its own, constitute oppression.
This decision, with particular applicability to small, closely held corporations, reiterated oppression remedy principles set out in the 2008 Supreme Court decision of BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders, that the remedy is concerned with fairness and business realities, rather than narrow legalities.… Continue Reading
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered the application of the oppression remedy provision in the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998, SO 1998, c 19 (the “Act”). In doing so, it engaged in a useful – and rare – discussion of the “business judgment rule” outside of the corporate law context, while reinforcing the basic elements of the rule familiar to corporate and securities law practitioners.
Background … Continue Reading
On May 26, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal issued its decision in Rea et al v Wildeboer (“Wildeboer”). The decision clarifies the nature, purpose, and difference between two of the most widely-used shareholder remedies in Canadian corporate law: the oppression remedy and the derivative action.… Continue Reading
We live in an increasingly interconnected world with trade liberalization and globalization continuing unabated. These changes present many opportunities for businesses but also raise new challenges for businesses operating across borders.… Continue Reading
Joint retainers are common in modern legal practice. But what happens when a dispute is brewing between two parties represented by the same law firm? How is a lawyer to know when the “bright line” of conflict of interest has been crossed? And when the duty of loyalty to a client is breached, when is disqualification of the law firm an appropriate remedy? The Alberta Court of Appeal addressed these issues in Statesman Master Builders Inc v Bennett Jones LLP, 2015 ABCA 142 (“Statesman”).… Continue Reading
Trusts are widely used in commercial transactions. But, as creatures of equity, trusts raise issues that may not be immediately familiar to everyone who relies on them in the commercial world. Indeed, the interrelationship between equitable doctrines and remedies and common law principles and remedies is complicated. Fortunately, the U.K. Supreme Court has revisited the issue in its recent decision in AIB Group (UK) Plc v. Mark Redler & Co Solicitors,  UKSC 58.
The business judgment of directors setting executive compensation was front and centre in the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Unique Broadband Systems, Inc. (Re), 2014 ONCA 538 (UBS). Although the decision is based on unique underlying facts, it offers several important lessons on corporate governance.
In Andriuk v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., the Alberta Court of Appeal affirmed a certification judge’s decision that an action, commenced pursuant to Alberta’s Class Proceedings Act, did not meet the requirements for certification of a class proceeding, based on a failure to demonstrate a viable methodology for establishing causation and damages on a class-wide basis.… Continue Reading
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 why the particular exclusion clause is unenforceable in the particular circumstances.
Recently, in 2010, the Supreme Court set out a new approach to the analysis of whether an exclusion clause is unenforceable in Tercon Contractors Ltd. v. British Columbia (Transportation and Highways), 2010 SCC … Continue Reading
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 different parties.
A number of parties, including Concord Okanagan Developments Ltd., entered into a limited partnership agreement (LPA) to form Greata Ranch Developments Limited Partnership. The LPA described a project management agreement (PMA) that was to be entered into between the Limited … Continue Reading
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 whom the representation was not even made? The UK Supreme Court says it can in Cramaso LLP v Ogilvie-Grant, Earl of Seafield and Others, a case with a peculiar set of facts which may have broad implications for parties engaged in pre-contractual negotiations.
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.
In October 2005, Shoppers Drug Mart (“Shoppers”) contracted with Energyshop Consulting Inc. (“Energyshop”) to manage and pay its utility bills on a nationwide basis. Michael Wayne Beamish (“Beamish”) negotiated the contract on behalf of Energyshop, which had not yet been incorporated. Beamish later incorporated 6470360 Canada Inc. … Continue Reading
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 entitled to believe that these individuals are dealing on their own behalf, rather than on behalf of a company to which they are outsiders.… Continue Reading
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 provides helpful guidance concerning the limits of the doctrine.
Although it arises infrequently, the doctrine does apply in Canada. For that reason, Szepiotwski will be of interest to holders of secured debt (and their lawyers) both for the particular holdings and the court’s general … Continue Reading
In Jetivia SA & Anor v Bilta (UK) Ltd & Ors, the England and Wales Court of Appeal confirmed and clarified the circumstances in which a director’s knowledge of fraudulent conduct will be attributed to the company. In particular, it explained that a director’s knowledge will not be attributable to the company in the context of a claim made by the company against the director and its associates who engaged in unlawful conduct with negative consequences to the company.
This appeal was brought with leave by Jetivia S.A. and Urs Brunchschweiler from an Order of the Chancellor of… Continue Reading
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 and the ability to benefit from a breach of one of the related contracts. Also mentioned are general duties of good faith, the role of fairness and implying terms. However, unique circumstances and a lack of agreement in the Court leaves us, unfortunately, without… Continue Reading
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 in prior decisions or other inconsistent appellate jurisprudence.
We have previously discussed the decision here.… Continue Reading
In a recent decision, the High Court of Australia adopted an expansive approach to the market manipulation provision in that country’s corporations statute. In particular, the High Court rejected the notion that market manipulation is restricted to the misuse of monopolistic or dominant market power. The High Court instead held that purchasing shares for the sole or dominant purpose of creating or maintaining a specific price amounts to market manipulation, even in the absence of proof that the transaction affected the behaviour of genuine market participants. The High Court’s decision will likely make it easier to prosecute market manipulation… Continue Reading
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 such circumstances, numerous remedies are available to employers including a civil action for breach of confidence.… Continue Reading
If disclosure of information has no effect on a company’s share price, was that information really material to investors? A recent Ontario Divisional Court ruling suggests that the answer may be “Yes” if the information is of the kind that a reasonable investor would want to rely on in making an investment decision. In Cornish, the Court considers the test for when a “material change” has occurred and concludes that the market impact test for materiality can be satisfied even if the share price is not impacted following disclosure of the information. The case is an important one about… Continue Reading
When a limited partner sells property to the limited partnership, is the limited partner itself a purchaser of that property, or is the only purchaser the general partner on behalf of the limited partnership? That is the question which the British Columbia Court of Appeal recently addressed in Edenvale Restoration Specialists Ltd. v. British Columbia (Finance), 2013 BCCA 85.
The Edenvale appeal concerned a sale of personal property by Edenvale to an Ontario limited partnership (“EWLP”) that also carried on business in British Columbia. The signatories to the sale agreement were Edenvale and the general partner of EWLP … Continue Reading
The Ontario Court of Appeal has released an important new judgment concerning the enforceability of restrictive covenants: Martin v. ConCreate USL Limited Partnership, 2013 ONCA 72. The decision provides guidance about when a restrictive covenant will be unenforceable owing to its duration and the scope of its prohibited activities, and suggests that a different test for unenforceability will apply where the existence of the covenant is linked to the covenantor’s interest in a limited partnership as opposed to a corporation.
The facts in Martin were as follows. The plaintiff/appellant Martin acquired minority interests in the two defendant/respondent companies … Continue Reading
The Supreme Court of Canada released one decision this week of interest to Canadian businesses and professions.
In Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc., 2012 SCC 67, the majority of the Court held that environmental protection orders issued under provincial legislation, which required an insolvent company to undertake remediation measures but which were not expressed in monetary terms, nonetheless amounted to “claims” under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA“) that could be stayed and subject to a claims procedure order in the context of CCAA proceedings. The Court observed that not all environmental protection orders will … Continue Reading