Ara Basmadjian is an associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at Dentons Canada LLP. His practice involves a variety of complex corporate, commercial, and civil litigation matters. Ara completed his J.D. at the University of Ottawa. Before studying law, Ara began his academic career in History and Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, where he received both B.A. and M.A. degrees. In law school, Ara served as an editor of the Ottawa Law Review. He was also selected to participate in the Dean’s Research and Writing Fellowship. In 2012, Ara received the first prize in the Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP Stock Market Competition. In the winter of 2012, he was a law clerk at the Ontario Court of Justice (East Region).
The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench recently struck down successive mark-ups on out-of-province craft beer as barriers to interprovincial trade contrary to Section 121 of the Constitution Act 1867. This is the first decision to apply the Supreme Court of Canada's interpretation of Section 121 as developed in R v Comeau. Further, this is the first decision in recent Canadian legal history to declare a legislative provision unconstitutional for violating Section 121.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently determined that New Brunswick's restrictions on the importation of beer are constitutional and held that laws which create an incidental restriction on trade – but otherwise form a rational connection to a broader regulatory regime that is not targeted at restricting trade – will not contravene the Constitution Act 1867. The decision is controversial, as it sets a low threshold for a province to justify a law that, on its face, clearly restrains trade across provincial boundaries.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision ended a decade-old case in which the plaintiffs were ultimately saddled with having to pay a damages award of C$954,576 to the defendants. This case should encourage counsel and their parties to carefully ensure that any evidence put before the court has been tendered fairly and squarely.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its highly anticipated decision in a trilogy of shareholder class actions under the secondary market liability provisions of the Ontario Securities Act. At issue was whether the Class Proceedings Act suspends the limitation period applicable to a claim under the Ontario Securities Act when a plaintiff files a statement of claim or motion for leave, or whether it is suspended only once leave has been granted.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently examined the issue of which province's law applies to a multi-jurisdictional sale of goods contract in which the parties themselves failed to address the matter in their agreement. The decision is significant because the court affirmed the longstanding choice of law test that focuses on which jurisdiction has the "closest and most substantial connection" to the contract.
The Ontario Divisional Court recently rejected the notion that Ontario courts should treat plaintiffs and defendants differently when determining costs in cases that raise novel issues or matters of public interest. In doing so, the court disabused many of the assumption that in class proceedings, only unsuccessful plaintiffs may be relieved of their obligation to pay costs in appropriate circumstances.
The Supreme Court of Canada's recent Sattva decision is a watershed in the law of contractual interpretation. The court unanimously abandoned the historical approach to contract interpretation and determined that it now "involves issues of mixed fact and law as it is an exercise in which the principles of contract interpretation are applied to the words of the written contract, considered in light of the factual matrix".
In Union Carbide Canada Inc v Bombardier Inc the Supreme Court of Canada recently considered whether a mediation contract with an absolute confidentiality clause displaced the common law settlement privilege and, more specifically, the exception to that privilege which enables parties to disclose evidence of confidential communications in order to prove the existence or terms of a settlement agreement.
A person dealing with a corporation need not inquire about the formality of the internal proceedings of the corporation, but is entitled to assume that there has been compliance with the articles of association and bylaws. This principle, known as the 'indoor management rule', was authoritatively laid down in Royal British Bank v Turquand and eventually codified into law. It is based on principles of fairness and practicality.
An Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision will have major implications on the practice of lawyers reviewing draft expert reports. As a medical malpractice case in which liability was determined primarily on issues of standard of care and causation, it is perhaps most important for the court's pronouncement that: "Discussions or meetings between counsel and an expert to review and shape a draft expert report are no longer acceptable"
Recent decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada constitute a watershed moment in competition law in particular, and class proceedings in general. Indirect purchasers – that is, consumers who did not purchase products directly from the price fixer, but who purchased them indirectly from a reseller or other intermediary – have a right of action against the alleged price fixer at the top of the distribution chain.
A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision confirms that overlapping class members in parallel class proceedings will not be permitted to benefit from settlement in one jurisdiction while continuing to participate in the litigation vagaries in another, and that parties seeking leave to appeal from an interlocutory order are faced with a challenging task, especially in the context of class proceedings.
Buyers and sellers of businesses in Canada should be aware of an established body of case law in respect of non-compete clauses. In connection with the sale of a business in Canada, such a clause operates largely to protect the purchaser. In a recent decision the Supreme Court underscored its contextual and pragmatic approach to the interpretation of non-compete agreements.
In Sable Offshore Energy Inc v Ameron International Corp the Supreme Court of Canada held that the settlement amounts contained in Pierringer agreements need not be disclosed to the remaining non-settling defendants in multi-party disputes. The decision is significant because the Supreme Court adopted a robust application of settlement privilege as it relates to the quantum of settlement.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently recognised the conditional settlement of a US class action, which had been approved by a US court, and granted an order to amend the class definition in the parallel Ontario class proceedings by excluding those persons that had been included in the US settlement. This decision will likely have important implications for litigants involved in parallel class actions in multiple jurisdictions.
The lack of scholarly commentary on multi-party settlements raises interesting questions in the context of corporate, commercial and personal injury litigation. What are the rights and obligations of the parties? How does the court reconcile the litigants' competing interests - namely, the privileged nature of communications in furtherance of settlement and the non-settling defendants' right to know the case against it?