7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Applicant applied for Summary Dismissal of the Plaintiff’s claims. The Applicant was a professional corporation through which an Alberta lawyer operated his practice. The Respondent retained the Applicant to assist him with his divorce proceedings and division of matrimonial property. The Respondent claimed that the Applicant failed to protect his interests in the sale of his house, which was the matrimonial home.

The Court noted that Rule 7.3(1)(b) allows a party to apply for Summary Judgment if there is no merit to a claim or part of it. Justice Feth then reviewed the legal principles relating to Summary Judgment.

The Court noted that Summary Judgment is appropriate where the record allows the Court to make the necessary findings of fact, apply the law to the facts, and Summary Judgment is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive means to achieve a just result (Hryniak v Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7)

The Defendant must meet the burden of showing the claim has no merit based on facts proven on a balance of probabilities. If the moving party meets this burden, then the resisting party must put its best foot forward to demonstrate that a triable issue remains (Weir-Jones Technical Services Inc v Purolator Courier Ltd, 2019 ABCA 49).

The Court applied the principles of Summary Judgment to the Respondent’s negligence claim. While the Applicant owed the Respondent a duty of care, the Court determined that the Applicant had met the standard of care. The Court also determined that there was no evidence that the Applicant had suffered damages. Even if the Applicant had suffered damages, the Court held that the Respondent’s actions did not cause such damages. As a result, the Court granted the Application and summarily dismissed the Respondent’s claim.

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