Archive for the ‘assumed jurisdiction’ Category

Ontario Court Assumes Jurisdiction Over Foreign Issuer in Securities Class Action

October 24, 2013

In Kaynes v. BP, 2013 ONSC 5802 (CanLII), (“Kaynes“), Mr. Kaynes, the plaintiff, commenced a proposed class action against BP, the well-known multinational oil and gas company, headquartered in the United Kingdom and registered on the London, New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.  Kaynes alleged that BP made various misrepresentations in its investor documents before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 (the “Oil Spill”).  He sought leave to bring a statutory action for secondary market misrepresentation under Part XXIII.I of the Securities Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, and an alternative claim for common law negligent misrepresentation.

 A parallel class action was commenced in the United States (In BP plc Securities Litigation,  United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Case No. 4:10-md-02185) brought on behalf of a proposed class consisting of all purchasers of ADS over the NYSE between November 8, 2007 and May 28, 2010. Kaynes seeks to represent a class of Canadian residents who purchased BP shares between May 9, 2007 and May 28, 2010 and includes all Canadians who purchased common shares and ADS, whether on the TSX, NYSE or European exchanges;  excluding any Canadian residents who purchased BP shares over the NYSE and who do not opt-out of the U.S. Proceeding.

BP brought a jurisdiction motion in advance of the leave and certification motions, seeking an order staying this proceeding (in part) based on lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, or, alternatively, on the basis of forum non conveniens.
(more…)

Ontario plaintiff’s claim against Mexican hotel for ATV accident stayed for lack of jurisdiction

October 24, 2013
Image via Daryl Cagle's The Cagle Post, Cartoons and Commentary

Image via Daryl Cagle’s The Cagle Post, Cartoons and Commentary

In Haufler v. Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, 2013 ONSC 6044 (CanLII),  the Plaintiff was injured while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) . She was immediately flown back to Canada for treatment.  The Plaintiff then sued the ATV excursion operator in negligence, but the company is bankrupt. The Plaintiff also sued the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Luca [the "Hotel Riu"] where the Plaintiff and the other vacationers stayed during the tragic Mexican vacation. The Hotel Riu then moved for a stay of the action based upon lack of jurisdiction simpliciter, or, alternatively, Ontario was forum non conveniens.

The case is unremarkable, except for the fact that it languished for seven years, while the parties awaited the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Club Resorts Limited v. Van Breda.[1], which established a refined test for the assumption of jurisdiction based on a “real and substantial” connection between the foreign defendant and the forum asserting jurisdiction., requiring the plaintiff to demonstrate the existence of one of four rebuttable presumptive connecting factors before a Canadian court will assume jurisdiction over an action involving a foreign defendant.

Quigley J. rejected  the Plaintiff’s claim that the Hotel carried on business in Canada, either on its own, or through agency relationships, noting that even if the Hotel: “…engaged in a considerable amount of business with Ontarians, the existing legal relationships between the Hotel, the owner of the Hotel,  and Sunquest Tours at the end of the line in Canada are not sufficient to establish that the Hotel carries on business in Ontario.” (at para. 7).

The Plaintiff’s arguments to establish a virtual connection to Ontario based upon advertising brochures, physical presence of some Hotel Riu representatives in Ontario, or website advertising also failed.

Quigley J. concludes:

[76]         In conclusion, on this aspect of the motion, I agree with the moving party, the Hotel, that there is virtually no connection to Ontario in this case. The tort action itself involves the alleged negligent operation of an ATV excursion in Mexico by a Mexican entity that offered the excursion in Mexico, Rancho Tours. In its action, the plaintiffs seek to attach legal responsibility for those events to this foreign defendant, the Hotel. Plainly the tort did not take place in Ontario, and the Hotel is a resident and domiciliary of Mexico. As such, Ontario could only assume jurisdiction over this litigation under the test established in Van Breda provided one of the two remaining connecting factors applied. In order for either of those two factors to apply, a contract entered into in Ontario regarding the subject matter of this litigation would have to exist, or there would need to be evidence that the Hotel was carrying on business in Ontario.

[77]         However, as the foregoing analysis shows, the only contracts of relevance here were made in Mexico. There was no contract concluded in Ontario between the Hotel and these plaintiffs. Their contract was with an independent third-party, Thomas Cook or its Sunquest Vacations alter ego. Further to this, the plaintiffs have failed to discharge the burden that rests upon them alone to show on the evidence that the Hotel carries on business in Ontario. At most, as the defendants argued, a separate company which markets the Riu trademark does occasional business with the Canadian business, Thomas Cook. But even this cannot provide the necessary connection as any existing connection is unrelated to the subject matter of the litigation. Given the absence of any of the four connecting factors required by Van Breda, Ontario cannot assume jurisdiction over this litigation and the motion to stay this action is therefore granted.

The Perils of Drafting Ineffective Forum Selection Clauses

May 31, 2013

Today’s decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2249659 Ontario Ltd. v. Sparkasse Siegen, 2013 ONCA 354 addresses issues pertaining to jurisdiction simpliciter, the effect of forum selection clauses and forum non conveniens. (more…)

Assuming Jurisdiction in Tort Cases Over Non-Contracting Parties

May 27, 2013

Trillium v. General Motors of Canada et al, 2013 ONSC 2289 (CanLII) [“Trillium“] attempts to answer the lingering question of how and when will a court assume jurisdiction in a tort case over contractual non-parties. (more…)

Tanya J. Monestier, “(Still) a ‘Real and Substantial’ Mess: The Law of Jurisdiction in Canada”

May 10, 2013

Tanya J. Monestier (Roger Williams University School of Law) has published “(Still) a ‘Real and Substantial’ Mess: The Law of Jurisdiction in Canada”, Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 36, p. 397, 2013/Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 136. The abstract reads:

In April 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada released the most important decision on personal jurisdiction in over twenty years. The Van Breda decision was intended to clarify, once and for all, the application of the “real and substantial connection” test to ex juris defendants. The Supreme Court in Van Breda adopted an approach to the real and substantial connection test that relied on the plaintiff fitting himself within one of four presumptive factors in order to establish jurisdiction: (a) The defendant is domiciled or resident in the province; (b) The defendant carries on business in the province; (c) The tort was committed in the province; (d) A contract connected with the dispute was made in the province. The Court also left open the possibility of creating additional presumptive factors in the future. The presumptive factors approach was intended to re-orient the jurisdictional test toward objective factual connections between the forum and the cause of action and to establish a simple and predictable framework for courts to use in making jurisdictional determinations. In this Article, I comprehensively examine the new presumptive factors approach to jurisdiction adopted by the Supreme Court in Van Breda with a view to exposing its shortcomings. I argue that this approach to jurisdiction – while simple and predictable on its face – will actually complicate jurisdictional determinations for the foreseeable future. Litigants will try to find creative ways to fit themselves within one of these four factors. And courts will spend years unpacking and defining the contours of the four presumptive factors. I also argue that the Court in Van Breda failed to provide meaningful guidance on how all pieces of the jurisdictional puzzle fit together. Among the outstanding questions: How does the real and substantial connection test work in non-tort cases? How do the traditional jurisdictional bases of consent and presence fit into the jurisdictional mix? Can the forum of necessity doctrine be reconciled with the real and substantial connection test? How does the test apply to the enforcement of foreign judgments? The Court simply left these hard questions until later. In short, while the Court in Van Breda was on the right track, it got derailed – which may ultimately mean another twenty years until the outstanding jurisdictional issues are sorted out.

Download a copy of the article at SSRN here.


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