Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, 2015 SCC 10

[1] The issue in this appeal is whether and in what circumstances a non-unionized employee who is suspended with pay may claim to have been constructively dismissed. The case involves the indefinite suspension of an employee with pay in the context of negotiations for a buyout of his contract of employment. The courts below found that the suspension did not amount to constructive dismissal and that the employee, Mr. Potter, had therefore repudiated the contract when he brought an action for constructive dismissal. For the reasons that follow, I respectfully disagree. Mr. Potter’s employer, the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission (“Commission”), lacked the authority, whether express or implied, to suspend him indefinitely with pay for the reasons it gave. I find that Mr. Potter was constructively dismissed and that he is accordingly entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal. I would adopt the trial judge’s provisional assessment of those damages, with the exception that the pension benefits Mr. Potter received should not be deducted from them.

2. Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571

[1] This Court has developed a new awareness and understanding of a category of vexatious litigant. As we shall see, while there is often a lack of homogeneity, and some individuals or groups have no name or special identity, they (by their own admission or by descriptions given by others) often fall into the following descriptions: Detaxers; Freemen or Freemen-on-the-Land; Sovereign Men or Sovereign Citizens; Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International (CERI); Moorish Law; and other labels – there is no closed list. In the absence of a better moniker, I have collectively labelled them as Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigants [“OPCA litigants”], to functionally define them collectively for what they literally are. These persons employ a collection of techniques and arguments promoted and sold by ‘gurus’ (as hereafter defined) to disrupt court operations and to attempt to frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals.

3. Fantl v. Transamerica Life Canada, 2015 ONSC 1367

[4] The Plaintiff’s negligent misrepresentation claim arises from a statement in the Information Folder that the Defendant was using “best efforts” to replicate the performance of the S&P 500 Total Return Index (the “S&P 500”). According to the Plaintiff, this representation was untrue, inaccurate and misleading.

[5] At the certification motion, the Defendant conceded that the Plaintiff’s negligent misrepresentation claim “pass[ed] over the cause of action and identifiable class criteria” and accepted that there were some common issues for this claim that could be certified (Motion judge’s reasons, para. 15). The motion judge found that while the Plaintiff’s “litigation plan may have to be updated,” he was a suitable representative plaintiff (Motion judge’s reasons, para. 18). Thus, the Plaintiff satisfied four parts of the five-part test for certification under s. 5(1) of the Class Proceedings Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 6 (the “Act”).

The most-consulted French-language decision was Multani c. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, [2006] 1 RCS 256, 2006 CSC 6

1 Il s’agit, dans le présent pourvoi, de déterminer si la décision d’un conseil des commissaires interdisant à un des élèves relevant de ce conseil de porter un kirpan à l’école, tel que le requiert sa religion, porte atteinte à la liberté de religion de cet élève. Dans l’affirmative, il faut se demander si cette atteinte constitue une limite raisonnable pouvant être justifiée par le besoin de maintenir un environnement sécuritaire à cette école.

2 Comme je l’expliquerai plus loin, je suis d’avis que la prohibition absolue de porter le kirpan porte atteinte à la liberté de religion garantie à l’élève concerné par l’al. 2a) de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés (« Charte canadienne »). Cette atteinte ne peut être justifiée en vertu de l’article premier de la Charte canadienne, car il n’a pas été démontré qu’une telle prohibition constitue une atteinte minimale aux droits de cet élève. La décision du conseil des commissaires doit donc être déclarée nulle.

* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.

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