Importance of determining the relevant body to take a lawsuit
By Francis P. Donovan and Jean-Philippe Bolduc, Ravinsky, Ryan, Lemoine, LLP
As part of a bailout provided by the Canadian government to General Motors during the 2008 financial crisis, over 200 GM dealerships were closed, with GM offering dealers compensation pursuant to Ontarian wind down agreements. A class action was filed in Ontario, alleging that the firm Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP gave negligent legal advice to the dealers. Cassels Brock added 150 Canadian law firms, which had also given dealers advice pursuant to the agreements, as third party defendants.
Many non-Ontario law firms filed motions to dismiss the claims, arguing that they were not residents of Ontario, did not do business there and that the Ontario Courts ought to decline jurisdiction based on forum non conveniens.
These motions were dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada, which found a real and substantial connection between the wind down agreements and the third party claims justifying Ontarian jurisdiction. The Court noted that forum non conveniens is not concerned only with fairness to the party contesting jurisdiction but also with efficiency and convenience of the proceedings.
This case illustrates that the determination of the relevant body to take a lawsuit is an international issue of prime importance to domestic litigation in a federal state such as Canada as well as the weight given to considerations of efficiency of the legal process.
Francis P. DonovanRavinsky Ryan Lemoine, L.L.P., Montreal, Canada
T: +1 514 866 3514
Jean-Philippe BolducRavinsky Ryan Lemoine, L.L.P., Montreal, Canada
T: +1 514 866 3514
Francis P. Donovan and Jean-Philippe Bolducare litigators at Ravinsky Ryan Lemoine, a reputable Canadian law firm which provides its clients with a personalised and high quality service, with a special emphasis on tax, commercial and corporate matters, including all forms of taxation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, as well as tax and commercial litigation.
Published: October 2016 l Photo: Colourbox.de - Giovanni