6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

Business Blossoms Inc. (“Business”) appealed the dismissal of its Summary Judgment Application. Business was seeking Summary Judgment against Blossoms Fresh Fruit Arrangements Ltd. (“Fresh Fruit”) in relation to the nature of the relationship between the parties and its net losses for failed retail operations. Yamauchi J. noted that, pursuant to Rule 6.14, an Appeal from a Master’s decision was a hearing de novo and the standard of review was correctness. Further, when applying Rule 7.3, Summary Judgment could only be granted to a moving party if the non-moving party’s position was without merit. In this case, Business was required to show that Fresh Fruit’s position was without merit, such that the facts and law made Business’s position “unassailable” and “so compelling that the likelihood of success is very high”. When balanced against Section 19 of the Franchise Act, RSA 2000 c F-23, the Court stated that Fresh Fruit first bore the onus of proving on a balance of probabilities that the arrangement between it and Business was not a “franchise”. If it succeeded in this, Business would not have met its onus and the Court could grant Summary Judgment in its favour. If it did not succeed in this, the Court was required to move on and consider whether Business could meet the test for Summary Judgment. The moving party was required to present “uncontroverted facts and law which entitle it to judgment against the nonmoving party”.

Yamauchi J. was unable to determine whether the relationship between Blossoms and Fresh Fruit was a franchise based on the evidence before the Court. In this case, there were disputed facts and law that required a full Trial of the issues. The record before the Court did not show that Business’s position was “unassailable” and His Lordship dismissed the Appeal of the Master’s Order.

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