BF v BF, 2019 ABQB 102

Lee J

7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendant applied for Summarily Dismissal of the Action in which the Plaintiff alleged that three pieces of farm equipment which were registered solely in the Defendant’s name were intended to be gifted to the parties’ jointly by their late father. The Plaintiff’s only evidence beyond his own assertions was that of a handwriting expert which concluded that the late father’s signature on the transfer agreements pertaining to the equipment at issue was not genuine. The Defendant presented cheques and records of payment contemporaneous with the transfer agreements matching the values set out in the transfer agreements dating back to 1997, in addition to his own evidence and evidence from the parties’ siblings and mother all stating they had no knowledge of the agreement alleged by the Plaintiff.

Justice Lee confirmed that the test for Summary Judgment is set out in Weir-Jones Technical Services Incorporated v Purolator Courier Ltd, 2019 ABCA 49 (“Weir-Jones”), where the moving party must demonstrate that there is “no real issue” requiring Trial, while the non moving party need only demonstrate that the record, facts, or law before the Court discloses that the moving party has failed to establish that there was no real issue requiring Trial. Justice Lee noted that there was some evidence which supported the Plaintiff’s case, however, that Weir-Jones confirms that “the mere presence of some conflicting evidence on the record does not preclude summary disposition” and that what matters is that the Judge is “confident” that the matter can be fairly resolved on the existing record.

Justice Lee found that there was no merit to the claim, as the bulk of the evidence supported the Defendant’s position that the equipment was sold to him by his late father. Justice Lee also noted that given the available evidence, even if the Plaintiff had established that the transfer agreements were invalid, the farm equipment would revert to the parties’ mother as part of the late father’s Estate, and therefore, in no circumstances would the Plaintiff have a claim to the equipment.

The Application for Summary Dismissal was granted.

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