ALTALINK, LP v SNC LAVALIN, 2022 ABKB 772
5.2: When something is relevant and material
5.25: Appropriate questions and objections
The Plaintiff claimed against the Defendants in relation to an electrical line construction project. The construction project at issue previously formed part of a larger construction project, but the larger construction project was divided into two portions due to the availability of parts.
At Questioning, the Plaintiff’s corporate representative refused to answer questions related to the second portion of the construction project on the basis that such questions were irrelevant and immaterial, because the parts at issue in this litigation, related to the first portion, were not used in second portion of the construction project.
The Defendants applied pursuant to Rule 5.25 for an Order compelling the Plaintiff’s corporate representative to answer the questions which were objected to and undertakings which were refused.
The Court considered Rule 5.2(1), which provides that a question is relevant and material only if the answer to the question could reasonably be expected “to significantly help determine one or more of the issues raised in the pleadings” or “to ascertain evidence that could reasonable be expected to significantly help determine one or more of the issues raised in the pleadings”. Under Rule 5.2, the Court explained, relevance is primarily determined by the Pleadings, whereas materiality relates to whether the information can help prove a fact in issue (directly or indirectly). The Court also observed that Rule 5.2 requires that, to be material, the information sought must have a degree of significance, measured by the potential of the information sought to prove a disputed fact.
The Court framed the issue here as whether broad Pleadings that put in issue the design of one piece of infrastructure make information about a second piece of infrastructure not mentioned in any Pleadings, relevant and material.
In the result, the Court ordered the Plaintiff’s corporate representative to answer the refused questions and undertakings. The Court held that information about the second portion of the construction project could prove, by inference or otherwise, points in dispute in this litigation. This conclusion was due in large part to the many similarities between the projects.View CanLII Details