Master Schulz

3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendants applied to strike the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim on the basis that the Claim disclosed no cause of action; was frivolous or improper; and represented an abuse of process. In the alternative, the Defendants asked for Summary Dismissal of the portions of the Claim that predated its filing by more than two years.

Master Schulz noted that Rule 3.68 allows the Court to strike pleadings where no cause of action is disclosed; where claims are frivolous or improper; or where claims represent an abuse of process. Master Schulz stated that a cause of action must be disclosed in pleadings, the pleadings must “stand on their own” and provide sufficient particulars to found a cause of action recognized by law. The Court must determine whether there is a reasonable chance that the claim will succeed assuming the facts are true as pleaded.

Master Schulz discussed the meaning of “frivolous” and “abuse of process” in the context of Rule 3.68. Abuse of process includes a “collateral attack” on administrative decisions made by decision makers of administrative agencies. An appeals process must be followed where it is present; the Court will not allow a litigant to side-step an appeals process by seeking a different result before a Master or Judge. Master Schulz held that the Plaintiff’s Claim failed on all three of these grounds. There was no cause of action disclosed in the Pleadings despite the use of terms such as “conspiracy” and “breach of trust”; the Claim was frivolous given the damages claimed were manifestly out of step with similar jurisprudence; and the Claim represented an abuse of process and collateral attack as the Plaintiff had not exhausted the statutory appeals process available to him. The Claim was struck out.

Master Schulz held that, although the determination was not required since the Claim was struck out in its entirety, the portions of the Claim that occurred more than two years prior should be summarily dismissed. The Defendants’ Application was granted.

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