ALBERTA v ALTRIA GROUP, INC, 2015 ABQB 390
3.25: Contents of statement of claim
3.61: Request for particulars
13.6: Pleadings: general requirements
13.7: Pleadings: other requirements
The Province of Alberta commenced an Action against several tobacco companies, claiming damages for the costs associated with “tobacco related wrongs” as defined in the Crown’s Right of Recovery Act, SA 2009, c C-35. The Defendants applied to compel the Crown to provide further particulars of the claims; cumulatively, the Defendants made over 13,000 individual requests for particulars. The Defendants had not yet filed Statements of Defence. The Crown refused to provide further particulars, arguing that the Defendants were merely trying to delay proceedings.
Justice Strekaf considered the Rules relating to requesting particulars. Her Ladyship noted that Rule 3.61(1) permits the Defendants to serve a request for particulars on the Plaintiff, and Rules 3.25 and 13.6 set out the general requirements for Pleadings. Justice Strekaf outlined the general test for ordering Particulars, noting that Pleadings must be succinct but must disclose enough information so that the Defendant understands the case it must meet. Strekaf J. stated that, without the Defendants filing any substantive Affidavits, they had to show that the Crown’s Statement of Claim was defective on its face, and that the allegations were too general or vague and that the “need for particulars was evident”. The underlying principle for a request for particulars is that each party is entitled to know the case against them. Particulars help ensure the litigation is fair, open and without surprise, and they help narrow the scope of the issues within the Action.
Strekaf J. considered each category of particulars requested. Upon review, Justice Strekaf held that the majority of facts in the Claim were sufficient to allow the Defendants to defend, or that the requested particulars sought evidence rather than facts. One exception was particulars regarding alleged misrepresentations by the Defendant tobacco companies. Justice Strekaf stated that Rules 13.6 and 13.7 require a certain degree of particularity for claims of misrepresentation. Because the basis for the claims by the Crown originated from Statute, the Crown did not need to formalistically plead every element of the tort: the Crown only needed to establish a duty and a breach of that duty. Strekaf J. held that only some particulars were required, specifically those relating to allegations against the Defendants as a group, allegations relating to relationships of agency and claims in misrepresentation.View CanLII Details