7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiffs commenced an Action for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident. One of the Plaintiffs who was not involved in the accident sued Unifund Assurance Company (“Unifund”), claiming damages for loss of consortium. Unifund applied for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 7.3 in respect of two of the three Plaintiffs who were involved in the accident, arguing that the wording of the policy did not extend to them.

The Plaintiffs cited authorities prior to the decision of Hryniak v Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7 (CanLII). Given the cultural shift endorsed post-Hryniak, Justice Pentelechuk cautioned reliance on these authorities, but noted some principles remain valid, such as Summary Judgment being inappropriate where there are questions of fact or credibility. The Court considered whether the Plaintiffs were dependant relatives of the named insured under the policy, such that coverage would extend to them. The evidence was clear that the Plaintiffs were not residing with the named insured at the time of the accident. Pentelechuk J. noted that the authorities supported an interpretation of “dependency” to mean financially dependent. There was no evidence that the Plaintiffs were principally dependent on the financial support of the named insured or his spouse.

Penteluchuk J. held that the evidentiary record allowed for a just and fair determination to both parties, and Summary Judgment against the Respondents was granted.

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