7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

In this Pre-Trial Application, a contractor sought a Judgment declaring its liens valid in the amount of its outstanding invoices. The central issue before the Court was whether it was possible to resolve the dispute on a summary basis, given the state of the record and issues, without a genuine issue requiring a Trial.

The dispute in question arose between the Plaintiffs, AG Clark Holdings Ltd. (“Clark Builders”) and the Defendant, 1352986 Alberta Ltd. (the “Owner”), over unpaid invoices for services rendered in the renovation of a historical building on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Clark Builders had entered into a construction management contract with the Owner in July 2009 and provided services from November 30, 2010, to June 30, 2011, for which invoices remained unpaid.

Clark Builders had registered a builders' lien against the fee simple estate of the Owner and the leasehold interest of the Lessees, which included the Redleaf Defendants (Redleaf Properties Corporation, 1354178 Alberta Ltd., and 1352992 Alberta Ltd.). The Redleaf Defendants disputed the claim, alleging issues with Clark Builders' management of the project and denying that any monies were owing. Clark Builders had previously brought an Application for Summary Judgment against the Redleaf Defendants in September 2015, which was dismissed. However, on November 20, 2020, Clark Builders brought a new Application for a summary disposition pursuant to s. 53 of the Builders’ Lien Act, RSA 2000, c B-7 (the “BLA) against the Redleaf Defendants to declare its liens valid in the amount of the outstanding invoices.

The Court noted that s. 53 of the BLA allows for a pre-Trial Application to determine the validity of liens or to direct that any particular issues be determined at Trial. It further states that where the relief sought on a s. 53 pre-Trial Application is final in nature, it is analogous to a Summary Judgment Application. Although the specific requirements of a Rule 7.3 Application may not apply, the principles for Summary Judgment do.

Applying the three-part test in Hryniak v Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, the Court held that it was possible to fairly resolve the builders’ lien dispute on a summary basis, and uncertainties in the facts, the record, or the law did not reveal a genuine issue requiring a Trial.

In the result, the Court declared the builders’ liens registered against title valid in the amount of the outstanding invoices. Clark Builders was entitled to the Costs of this Application and the Action.

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