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This week at the SCC

|Written By Elizabeth Raymer

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week, all in civil cases. Two Quebec cases involve corporations being sued for professional misconduct or breach of contract, while a British Columbia case has to do with contract law as it concerns subsidized tenants with trust funds. Finally, Rogers Communications is seeking payment from a film production company for producing customer records.

April 23 – Quebec – Brunette v. Legault Joly Thiffault

Civil law: Between 2004 and 2008, the Melior Group, which was made up of a large number of corporations whose share capital was held by 9143 1304 Québec inc., developed projects to build, renovate and manage seniors’ residences. In 2009, Revenu Québec issued notices of assessment, accompanied by collection action, against several corporations in the Group. This resulted in the bankruptcy of several of those corporations and of 9143 1304 Québec inc. The applicants, which were trustees of Fiducie Maynard 2004, the sole shareholder of 9143 1304 Québec inc., instituted a civil liability action for the loss in the value of the trust patrimony against the nine corporate respondents, which they alleged to have committed professional misconduct in setting up a tax structure that was supposed to manage the corporations’ consumption taxes in accordance with regulations.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related law firm bulletin:
Tax: Liability For Tax Planning; Supreme Advocacy LLP (on CanLII Connects)

April 24 – Quebec – Barer v. Knight Brothers LLC

Private international law: The applicant is a Canadian businessman residing in Québec, who was operating a company based in Vermont, Barer Engineering Company of America. The respondent initiated legal proceedings in Utah against BEC and the applicant personally, as well as a company based in Québec and run by the applicant, for amounts claimed to be due under a contract. The applicant made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction with respect to himself personally, which was dismissed. In 2013, a default judgment was rendered against the applicant, and the respondent sought recognition and enforcement against the applicant of the judgment rendered by the Utah court.

Read the appellate court decision here.

April 25 – British Columbia – S. A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation

Contract law: The applicant is a middle-aged woman with disabilities who receives benefits pursuant to the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 41. She is the sole beneficiary of a discretionary trust set up through a variation of her deceased father’s will by court order, of which she and her sister are co-trustees. The respondent, MVHC, operates non-profit subsidized housing facilities in Vancouver, including the place where the applicant has resided since 1992. In addition to providing affordable housing, MVHC has an additional rental assistance program. Due to its policy of precluding subsidized rent to persons with assets greater than $25,000, MVHC demanded the applicant provide information about the trust, including the amount held in trust. When she refused, she was informed that her subsidized rent would end, and she has paid the rent differential under protest.

The applicant petitioned for a declaration that the trust is not an asset for the purposes of determining her subsidized rent and for reimbursement of the additional amount she has paid. MVHC brought a petition seeking declarations that the disclosure of financial information to qualify for subsidized rent requires the disclosure of beneficial interests in assets, including the trust, and that MVHC is contractually entitled to that financial information. The British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the applicant’s petition and allowed MVHC’s petition, and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related law firm bulletins:
Can a housing provider require disclosure of Henson trusts when considering rental assistance? Iler Campbell LLP

Assets Held in a Discretionary Trust May Affect Some Types of Assistance for Beneficiaries with Disabilities; Sabey Rule LLP

April 26 – Federal – Rogers Communications v. Voltage Pictures

Legislative law: The respondent movie producers allege that persons are engaging in illegal file sharing of their movies over the internet. They initiated a proposed class proceeding claiming declaratory, injunctive and other relief against a proposed representative respondent whose identity was unknown to them. They brought a motion for an order compelling the applicant to disclose personal information of a Rogers customer associated with an identified internet protocol address. The respondents and Rogers are at odds over whether Rogers should be compensated for providing the disclosure. The Federal Court held that since the disclosure was not part of the notice and notice scheme under ss. 41.25 and 41.26 of the act, Rogers could claim compensation for its hourly fee to assemble, verify and transmit the information. The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and set aside the order requiring payment of Rogers’ fee and costs.

Read the appellate court decision here.

Related news story:
Why Rogers wants the Supreme Court to reconsider a copyright ruling on pirated content; Financial Post

Related law firm bulletins:
Supreme Court to rule on Rogers’ charges for infringer names and addresses; Bereskin & Parr LLP

Internet Service Providers Cannot Charge Copyright Owners Fees For Discharging Their Legislative Obligations Under The Notice And Notice Regime; Deeth Williams Wall