A one-time Pet Valu franchisee is liable for the franchisor’s costs in class action litigation he brought against Pet Valu Canada Inc., the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday.
In Pet Valu Canada Inc. v. Rodger, 2018 ONSC 3353, Justice Sandra Nishikawa held that the individual officer, director, shareholder and guarantor of the representative plaintiff in a $100-million class action lawsuit against Pet Valu in 2009 was liable for the significant costs awards — in excess of $1.7 million — that Pet Valu had been awarded after defeating the class action.
Robert Rodger was the sole shareholder of 1250264 Ontario Inc. Since 2005, he had been a Pet Valu franchisee, and in 2009, he attempted to sell his franchise back to Pet Valu, a wholesaler and retailer of pet food, supplies and related services. In December 2009, 1250264 Ontario Inc. commenced a class action against Pet Valu alleging breach of contract and breach of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000, S.O. 2000 c. 3. The gist of the claims was that Pet Valu had not shared volume rebates it received from suppliers with the franchisees and that it overcharged franchisees for certain items.