BROWN v BLISS, 2019 ABQB 530

Master Schlosser

3.30: Defendant’s options
3.69: Joining claims
11.25: Real and substantial connection
11.31: Setting aside service

Case Summary

After one of the Defendants applied to stay the Action because a new, earlier Action had already been brought in Ontario, the Court considered whether it had jurisdiction to hear the matter, and whether or not Ontario was, nevertheless, the more convenient forum. The Ontario and Alberta claims differed, but related to the same facts.

In considering whether Alberta had jurisdiction simpliciter over the matters in the Alberta Action, Master Schlosser considered the non-exhaustive list of circumstances in which a real and substantial connection with Alberta is presumed to exist, set out under Rule 11.25(3). The Master noted that service of a claim without a real and substantial connection to Alberta may be set aside pursuant to Rules 3.30 and 11.31. Master Schlosser also noted that Rule 3.69, which governs the joining of claims, speaks to the desirability of keeping related Actions together to preserve judicial economy and avoid inconsistent Judgments. The Master found that while the Defendant was not a “necessary” party to the Alberta Action, he was a “proper” party, and therefore that Alberta had jurisdiction over the Action pursuant to Rule 11.25(3)(i).

Master Schlosser next considered whether Ontario was a more convenient or appropriate forum. In doing so, the Master considered a number of factors including the comparative expense to the parties of proceeding in either province, the law in each province, enforcement of an eventual Judgment, the desirability of avoiding multiple proceedings, and the efficiency and fairness of the Canadian legal system in its entirety. Master Schlosser held that, on balance, it made sense for the Alberta and Ontario Actions to proceed together in Ontario. The Alberta Action was therefore stayed on the condition that the Defendant consent to adding a Counterclaim in the Ontario Action to deal with the Plaintiff’s claim against him. The Defendant was awarded Costs.

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