This week’s Supreme Court of Canada hearings docket comprises two criminal and two civil cases, with Google as the appellant in a civil case to do with inherent jurisdiction. The court will also hear a right-to-equality appeal related to a drug user being fired from his job following an accident.
December 5 – Quebec – Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions v. Jodoin
Criminal law: The respondent, a lawyer, was representing clients charged with driving while intoxicated. In 2013, after a hearing in the Court of Quebec on a motion for the disclosure of evidence, the respondent filed in the Superior Court, on behalf of his clients, motions for writs of prohibition challenging the jurisdiction of the Court of Quebec judge. The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions objected to these motions. The Quebec Superior Court dismissed the motions for writs of prohibition, and the Quebec Court of Appeal allowed the appeal solely to set aside the award of costs against the respondent.
Administrative law: The plaintiffs sued their former distributors for appropriation of trade secrets, alleging the distributors designed and sold counterfeit versions of their products. The plaintiffs obtained injunctions against the distributors, prohibiting them from carrying on any business online, and when this proved ineffective the plaintiffs sought a court order against Google to prohibit it from displaying search results that included the distributors’ websites. B.C.’s Supreme Court granted a worldwide injunction against Google, finding that it possessed an inherent jurisdiction to maintain the rule of law and protect its processes, and the appeal court upheld the decision.
Read the B.C. appellate court decision
Supreme Court of Canada to hear Google Injunction Appeal, Dimock Stratton LLP
Worldwide Delisting from Google Search Results: The Significance of Equustek Solutions Inc. v Google Inc., ABlawg.ca (University of Calgary Faculty of Law blog)
SCC Grants Leave on Google Injunction, IPPractice
December 8 – British Columbia – Alex v. R.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms: The applicant was convicted of driving while intoxicated, contrary to s. 253(b) of the Criminal Code. He was also convicted of driving while prohibited. There was some uncertainty as to whether the trial judge found objective and subjective grounds for the police officer’s suspicion of impaired driving under s. 254(2) of the Criminal Code, and the summary appeal judge did not reach a firm conclusion as to whether the officer subjectively believed there were grounds to suspect it. Both the trial judge and summary appeal judge concluded, though, that R. v. Rilling applied to make the breathalyzer certificate admissible in the absence of a challenge under s. 8 of the Charter; the Court of Appeal agreed and dismissed the appeal.
Read the B.C. appellate court decision
December 9 – Alberta – Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation
Human rights law: A worker was terminated from his employment when he tested positive for cocaine after a loader truck he was operating struck another truck. His union filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, claiming the worker was fired on account of his addiction disability, but the tribunal concluded the worker was fired because he failed to stop using drugs, stop being impaired at work, and did not disclose his drug use. Alternatively, the tribunal held that the employer had shown accommodation to the point of undue hardship. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta dismissed the appeal but disagreed with the tribunal’s alternative conclusion that the worker had been reasonably accommodated. A majority of the appeal court dismissed the appeal and allowed the cross-appeal.
Read the Alberta appellate court decision
This Fall’s Supreme Court Hearings – A Missing Voice for Human Rights, ABlawg.ca (University of Calgary Faculty of Law blog)