7.9: Decision after summary trial

Case Summary

From 2004 through to 2007 the Plaintiff (“Mr. Arndt”) served as a caretaker at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre in Calgary (the “Defendants”). Mr. Arndt commenced a series of legal Actions arising out of his time working for the Defendants. In each of the two Actions before the Court, the “0901 Action” and the “1001 Action”, the Defendants raised defences that, if successful, would have been a complete answer to Mr. Arndt’s claims. Ultimately, through case management, the merits of these defences were ordered to be heard by Summary Trial.

Justice Grosse heard the Summary Trial with a mix of Affidavit and viva voce evidence. The 0901 Action was, in effect, an Action for wrongful dismissal. Justice Grosse noted that, according to Rule 7.9(2), a Judge may decline to grant Judgment after a Summary Trial if, on the evidence, the Judge is unable to find the facts necessary to decide the issues of fact or law. Justice Grosse found that the existence of a valid settlement agreement between the parties dealt with the majority of the issues in the 0901 Action. Nonetheless, pursuant to Rule 7.9(2), Her Ladyship was unable to decide various issues of absolute privilege on the record before the Court. Accordingly, Justice Grosse stayed these portions of the 0901 Action pending implementation of the now enforceable settlement agreement.

Turning to the 1001 Action, Justice Grosse noted that the Defendants arguments were grounded in the Limitations Act, RSA 2000, c L-12 (the “Limitations Act”). Justice Grosse found that, in its original form, the 1001 Action was a claim for negligence, stemming from a prolonged physical injury to Mr. Arndt’s hands and arms which ultimately required surgery. Grosse J. found that in his testimony at the Summary Trial, Mr. Arndt described experiencing pain and discomfort in his shoulders, elbows and forearms in 2006 and linking that pain to his work for the Defendants as early as 2007, but did not commence the 1001 Action until 2010. Accordingly, Justice Grosse dismissed the 1001 Action on based on the application of the Limitations Act.

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