CASTLE BUILDING CENTRES GROUP LTD v ALBERTA DRYWALL & STUCCO SUPPLY INC, 2023 ABKB 32
6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)
The Respondent obtained Summary Judgment against the Appellants (the “Decision”). The Appellants appealed the Decision of the Applications Judge under Rule 6.14 and requested that new evidence be considered on the Appeal. The Application to allow new evidence and the Appeal were both granted.
Richardson J. held that there was not sufficient and reliable evidence to grant Summary Judgment for the entire amount sought by the Respondent. Although there was no dispute that the Appellants were indebted to the Respondent, there was a litigable dispute on the amount of that indebtedness. Having taken note of the ambiguity and outright errors in the Respondent’s evidence that was before the Applications Judge, Richardson J. held that the Summary Judgment should not have been granted.
Richardson J. further held that the Applications Judge erred in granting Summary Judgment while also declining to dismiss the Appellants’ Counterclaim. Having noted that Summary Judgment is designed to avoid increased complexity in litigation, Richardson J. pointed out that the result of the parallel findings of granting Summary Judgment and declining to dismiss the Counterclaim would result in added complexity and would unfairly impact the Appellants’ ability to advance their Counterclaim.
On the other hand, Richardson J. disagreed with the Appellants’ argument that the record did not provide a transparent account of how the Applications Judge made the Decision. Richardson J. commented that there was no need for the Applications Judge to issue a written Decision in order for their reasons to be understood and transparent. Richardson J. found that requiring written reasons would cause delay and inefficiency and be contrary to the stated policy behind Summary Judgment, which includes efficient resolution of disputes.
Most new evidence that the Appellants sought to introduce was available in advance of the Summary Judgment Application. The Appellants made a strategic choice not to offer it in resisting the Application. However, Richardson J. granted the Application to allow new evidence as the new evidence was found to be necessary and its consideration was in the interests of justice given the ambiguity in the Respondent’s evidence and submissions in support of Summary Judgment.View CanLII Details