Labour Rights Law takes Defendants to Litigation School

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In Michael Hanrahan v QMI Manufacturing Inc., Avcom Systems Inc., and Raymond Wood (BCSC File No. S2012859), we successfully represented the Plaintiff in a wrongful dismissal claim for an application to strike the Defendants’ late-filed summary trial response and supporting affidavit.

Following service of the Plaintiff’s summary trial application, the Defendants were required to file and serve their response and supporting affidavit within 8 calendar days. Contrary to the Supreme Court Civil Rules, the Defendants filed their response and supporting affidavit approximately 6 months after they were due.

The Honourable Justice Gaul concluded that the Defendants engaged deliberately in “litigation gamesmanship” to deprive the Plaintiff of his opportunity to have his claim litigated in a just, speedy and cost-effective manner.

[The Plaintiff] is entitled to have his day in court. He and his counsel have done all they can to get this action before the court in an efficient and inexpensive way. The defendants have done nothing but hinder the process of this litigation. The court should not and will not countenance the type of litigation gamesmanship the defendants have exhibited in this case. …

I say this having considered the legal principles articulated in the jurisprudence that…remedies that disentitle a party from advancing a defence are draconian and ought only to be granted in exceptional circumstances. In my view, what is before me is such a case.

In addition, Justice Gaul concluded that the Defendants breached the Rules by purporting unilaterally to withdraw admissions made in their pleadings.

As a result of the Defendants’ deliberate breaches of the Rules of Court, the wrongful dismissal claim proceeds to summary trial to be determined by default judgment.

While the Defendants have filed an appeal of Justice Gaul’s decision, the Plaintiff has obtained an order from the Court of Appeal staying the appeal pending payment of security for costs. If the Defendants do comply with the Court Order to pay security for costs within 30 calendar days, the appeal may be struck and the default judgment application can proceed.

A complete copy of Justice Gaul’s reasons for judgment is available here.

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