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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. Meads v. Meads2012 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.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

2. The Hearing Clinic (Niagara Falls) Inc. v. 866073 Ontario Limited, et al., 2014 ONSC 5831

[3] I have found it impossible to articulate a helpful overview of this trial. Sitting atop the evidence here is like scaling a very, very high mountain only to find that, when one reaches the summit, one is too far from everything to see anything. The best that I can do is say that the core of the case is the allegation that the individual defendants and their accountant knowingly made fraudulent misrepresentations and withheld information, such that the plaintiff overpaid for the hearing clinic. General damages are sought. It is further alleged that the defendants intentionally committed certain acts (said to be acts of bad faith and improper conduct bordering upon fraud) that impeded the transfer of assets, constituting breach of contract, and thereby caused the plaintiff to suffer specific financial losses.

[4] E-mails, hundreds of them, along with letters and other documents, proved to be the most reliable evidence. Without them, the truth would have been unattainable, leaving me at the mercy of witnesses and desperately self-interested litigants attempting to recall events today that took place in 2006. There are inherent evidentiary problems in asking witnesses to tell of such events. Sincerely believed memories that are innocently incorrect become more problematic for the court than do intentional lies.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

3. Southwind v. Canada, 2021 SCC 28

[11] In my view, this approach to equitable compensation for breach of fiduciary duty is flawed. By looking solely at the amount the LSFN would have received if Canada had complied with the general law relating to expropriation, the trial judge gave no effect to the unique obligations imposed by the fiduciary duty. The trial judge improperly focused on what Canada would likely have done, as opposed to what Canada ought to have done as a fiduciary. While I agree with much of the trial judge’s analysis, this error tainted his assessment of equitable compensation.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

The most-consulted French-language decision was Forget c. Union des artistes, 2021 QCCS 2999:

[121] Que l’avocat en question ait choisi, d’un commun accord avec son unique client, d’opter pour le salariat comme mode de rémunération, ne change pas foncièrement la nature du schéma qui vient d’être exposé. Il y a aussi lieu de noter que l’UDA n’est pas poursuivie à titre de commettante de Me Fortin, mais plutôt, allègue-t-on, parce qu’elle aurait elle-même, comme institution, utilisé ses pouvoirs disciplinaires à des fins impropres et négocié le règlement du grief de mauvaise foi. Il va sans dire que Me Fortin n’avait pas le pouvoir de décider quoi que ce soit en ce qui concerne la convocation en discipline et que même en tant que membre du comité d’éthique, son pouvoir décisionnel s’exerce de manière collégiale avec tous les membres. Il est tout aussi évident que Me Fortin n’est pas partie au grief, mais uniquement l’UDA.

(Check for commentary on CanLII Connects)

* 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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