This week at the SCC

Feb. 20-24, 2017

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear four appeals this week: one criminal concerning treatment of evidence in a sexual assault trial and the other three civil, notably Teva Canada’s appeal from the Court of Appeal for Ontario regarding banks’ liability for converting cheques in fraudulent circumstances.

Feb. 21 – Saskatchewan – Olotu v. R.

Criminal law: The appellant was convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm. At trial, he admitted that he engaged in anal intercourse with the complainant and claimed she had consented. The complainant had no independent memory of the incident, but said she would never have consented to anal intercourse. The trial judge found the complainant did not consent because of the bruising and bodily harm she suffered which, in his view, were inconsistent with consensual sex, and that her account of the incident and what followed was credible and consistent. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant’s appeal.

Read the Saskatchewan appellate court decision here.

Related legal briefs:

Summary of R v Olotu; Law Society of Saskatchewan

Feb. 22 – Quebec – Pellerin Savitz v. Guindon

Civil law: The respondent, Serge Guindon, retained the professional services of the applicant law firm, Pellerin Savitz LLP, to defend him in litigation before the Superior Court. During the performance of the mandate, the applicant sent the respondent five accounts for fees between Oct. 5, 2011 and March 1, 2012. None of the accounts was paid. On March 21, 2012, the respondent informed the applicant that he was withdrawing the mandate. On March 10, 2015, the applicant brought an action against the respondent to recover claims for unpaid fees. The respondent asked that the action be dismissed because the claims arising from the unpaid accounts for professional fees were prescribed.

Read the Quebec appellate court decision here.

Related legal briefs:

Professions in Québec: Fees; Supreme Advocacy LLP

Feb. 23 – Quebec – City of Montréal v. Dorval et al.

Civil liability: The respondents are members of the family of Maria Altagracia Dorval, who was murdered by her former spouse in October 2010. In October 2013, they filed a motion to institute proceedings claiming damages from the City of Montréal based on the inaction of its police force and the police officers of whom it was the principal, which had led to Ms. Dorval’s death. They claimed damages on behalf of the late Ms. Dorval’s succession for suffering, pain and inconvenience due to constant harassment by her former spouse and police inaction, and personally for solatium doloris, funeral expenses and loss of emotional support. The City of Montréal filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the direct personal action in damages brought by the mediate or indirect victims as a result of the death was prescribed by s. 586 of the Cities and Towns Act, CQLR, c. C 19.

Read the Quebec appellate court decision here.

Related news stories:

Family of stabbing victim Maria Altagracia Dorval fights for compensation; CBC News Montreal

5 officers cleared by ethics committee in case of Maria Altagarcia Dorval's death; Montreal Gazette

Feb. 24 – Ontario – Teva Canada v. TD Canada Trust et al.

Commercial law: Teva, a major manufacturer of generic pharmaceuticals, the respondent banks fell victim to a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by a Teva employee, M, who was responsible for administering Teva’s rebate programme. From 2002 to 2006, M requisitioned 63 cheques totalling $5,483,249.40, payable to six entities to whom Teva owed no monies. M and his accomplices deposited the cheques into small business accounts they had opened at the respondent banks. Teva sued the banks for damages for conversion, and the banks raised defences under the Bills of Exchange Act, and under the Ontario Limitations Act. Each party brought motions for summary judgment. The motion judge granted summary judgment in favour of Teva, which was reversed on appeal.

Read the Ontario appellate court decision here.

Related legal briefs:

Court Rules Banks Not Liable for Converting Cheques to Non-Existing/Fictitious Payees; Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Supreme Court of Canada to Clarify Banks’ Defences to Cheque Fraud; Aird & Berlis LLP

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