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Debt Dispute Litigation: Watkins v. Western Assurance Co.

Debt Dispute Litigation: Watkins v. Western Assurance Co.

#Debt Collection, #Credit Dispute, #Collection Calls, #Contract Dispute, #Secured Loan, #Unsecured Loan

*Watkins v. Western Assurance Co., 2016 ONSC 2574

[32] The court shall only grant summary judgment if it is satisfied that there is no genuine issue requiring a trial. Pursuant to rule 20.04(2)(a) and (2.1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194, the court shall consider the evidence submitted by the parties and may exercise any of the following powers for the purpose of determining whether there is a genuine issue requiring a trial, unless it is in the interest of justice for such powers to be exercised only at a trial:
(1) weighing the evidence;
(2) evaluating the credibility of a deponent;
(3) drawing any reasonable inference from the evidence.

[33] In Hryniak v. Mauldin, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 87, [2014] S.C.J. No. 7, 2014 SCC 7, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the test to apply on a summary judgment motion. There will be no genuine issue requiring a trial if the evidence permits the court to make a fair and just determination on the merits. This will be the case when a motion for summary judgment (1) allows the judge to make the necessary findings of fact; (2) allows the judge to apply the law to the facts; and (3) is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive means to achieve a just result.

[34] What is fair and just depends on the nature of the issues, and the nature and strength of the evidence. There is an obligation on each party to “put its best foot forward”.

[35] Rule 20 remains a means of avoiding protracted and expensive litigation when there is no requirement for a trial, because there is no genuine issue of fact. The summary judgment rule, properly applied, shall be liberally construed to secure the most expeditious and least expensive determination of the civil proceeding on its merits: Irving Ungerman Ltd. v. Galanis (1991), 4 O.R. (3d) 545, [1991] O.J. No. 1478 (C.A.), at paras. 19 and 20.

[36] The change in the Rules and the interpretation of those rules by the Supreme Court of Canada permits a more meaningful review of the paper record, and expressly overrules jurisprudence that prevented motion judges from making evidentiary determinations. As a result, cases or issues need not proceed to trial unless a trial is genuinely required: Cuthbert v. TD Canada Trust, [2010] O.J. No. 630, 2010 ONSC 830 (S.C.J.), at para. 10.

[37] The rule for summary judgment must be interpreted broadly, favouring proportionality and fair access to the affordable, timely and just adjudication of claims: Hryniak v. Mauldin, supra, at para. 5.

[38] On a motion for summary judgment, a party’s evidence must set out coherent evidence of specific facts, showing that there is a genuine issue requiring a trial. A responding party to a motion for summary judgment is obliged to put his or her best position forward and, in that context, must do more than simply assert uncorroborated facts: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. Mitchell, [2010] O.J. No. 1502, 2010 ONSC 2227 (S.C.J.), at para. 18.

[44] A claim will only be struck if it is “plain and obvious” that the pleading discloses no reasonable prospect of success. The novelty of the cause of action should not prevent the plaintiff from proceeding: Hunt v. Carey Canada Inc., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 959, [1990] S.C.J. No. 93; R. v. Imperial Tobacco Canada, [2011] 3 S.C.R. 45, [2011] S.C.J. No. 42, 2011 SCC 42.

*source: Ontario reports

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