Hot on CanLII This Week

Here are the three most-consulted English-language cases on CanLII for the week of April 18 – 23.

1. Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda 2012 SCC 17

[1] Tourism has grown into one of the most personal forms of globalization in the modern world. Canadians look elsewhere for the sun, or to see new sights or seek new experiences. Trips are planned and taken with great expectations. But personal tragedies do happen. Happiness gives way to grief, as in the situations that resulted in these appeals. A young woman, Morgan Van Breda, suffered catastrophic injuries on a beach in Cuba. A family doctor and father, Dr. Claude Charron, died while scuba diving, also in Cuba. Actions were brought in Ontario against a number of parties, including the appellant Club Resorts Ltd. (“Club Resorts”), a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands that managed the two hotels where the accidents occurred. Club Resorts sought to block those proceedings, arguing that the Ontario courts lacked jurisdiction and, in the alternative, that a Cuban court would be a more appropriate forum on the basis of the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The same issues have now been raised in this Court. I will begin by summarizing the events that led to the litigation, the conduct of the litigation and the judgments of the courts below. I will then consider the principles that should apply to the assumption of jurisdiction and the doctrine of forum non conveniens under the common law conflicts rules of Canadian private international law. Finally, I will apply those principles to determine whether the Ontario courts have jurisdiction and, if so, whether they should decline to exercise it.

2. Breeden v. Black 2012 SCC 19

[1] This appeal concerns the manner in which the law of jurisdiction and the doctrine of forum non conveniens, which this Court recently reviewed in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17 (CanLII), 2012 SCC 17 (“Club Resorts”), are to be applied to a multistate defamation claim. The respondent, Conrad Black, filed six libel actions in the Ontario Superior Court against the ten appellants, who are directors, advisors and a vice-president of Hollinger International, Inc. (“International”). Lord Black alleges that certain statements issued by the appellants and posted on International’s website are defamatory and were published in Ontario when they were downloaded, read and republished in the province by three newspapers. The appellants counter that the Ontario court should not assume jurisdiction over the actions because they are essentially American in substance or, alternatively, because the Illinois court is a more appropriate forum than the Ontario court.

3. XY v. Ontario (Government and Consumer Services) 2012 HRTO 726

[5] The applicant contends that the requirement that she have and certify that she had “transsexual surgery” in order to obtain a birth certificate which accorded with her gender identity infringed her right to equal treatment without discrimination on the basis of sex and/or disability with respect to services contrary to s.1 and s.11 of the Code. The argument that the respondent discriminated against her on the basis of disability, however, is advanced in the alternative with some reluctance on the applicant’s part, because, notwithstanding that she has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (by psychiatrist Dr. Chris McIntosh who testified at the hearing of this matter), the applicant does not regard her gender identity as a “disability”. In the Application she filed with the Tribunal, the applicant also alleged that she had been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. However, that allegation was not pursued at the hearing. 

The most-consulted French-language decision was Industries Lassonde inc. c. Oasis d’Olivia inc. 2012 QCCA 593.

[2] Les appelantes sont détentrices de la marque de commerce « OASIS » et de nombreuses marques y associées, comme « Oasis Florida Premium », « Oasis Sélection » et « Oasis Classique », utilisées essentiellement à l’égard de jus, boissons et sorbets. Elles sont aussi détentrices de la marque « OLINDA » en association avec de l’huile d’olive.

[3] En 2006, d’avis qu’il y avait risque de confusion avec ses marques de commerce, les appelantes intentent des procédures en injonction permanente, en remboursement de profits et en dommages « exemplaires et punitifs », contre l’intimée, qui utilise la marque de commerce « Olivia’s Oasis » en association avec des produits de soins corporels, dont des savons, et qui demandait, à l’époque, son enregistrement (obtenu en juillet 2010).

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