1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
3.70: Parties joining to bring action

Case Summary

The Defendants applied to strike the Plaintiffs’ pleadings on the basis that they did not disclose a reasonable claim of inducing a breach of contract, pursuant to Rule 3.68(2)(b). Citing Hunt v Carey Inc, [1990] 2 SCR 959, Master Laycock noted that the test for an Application to strike pleadings is “whether it is plain and obvious that the claim cannot succeed”. “[T]he court should be generous in assessing the pleadings.  It is not always necessary to plead specific words provided that the essence of the action is outlined”. Master Laycock considered the allegation contained in the Statement of Claim to determine whether the required elements were pleaded. “The problem for the plaintiffs is that the pleadings in their current form do not allege what their counsel argues they allege”. Master Laycock determined that the deficiencies in the pleadings could result in the Action being dismissed as against certain Defendants. “An action may be struck if no amount of amendment could save the action.  A pleading will not be struck if the flaws in it are capable of amendment”. The Plaintiffs then asked for leave to amend the pleadings. Master Laycock further noted that, pursuant to Rule 1.2, it would have been more timely and cost effective for the Plaintiffs to file a Cross Application for leave to amend, but decided to grant the Plaintiffs an Adjournment to amend the pleadings. “Applying for leave to amend during an application to strike is the least timely and cost-effective approach”. It was determined that any prejudice to the Defendant could be dealt with through a Costs Order.

The Defendants also applied to strike the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim on the basis that it was frivolous, pursuant to Rule 3.68(2)(c). The Defendant filed no evidence - as a result the argument was the same as that considered pursuant to Rule 3.68(2)(b) and the Court determined that the remedy was the same.

The Defendants also argued that the Plaintiffs had joined four separate causes of Action into the proceeding which resulted in misjoinder, pursuant to Rule 3.70. The Defendants argued that each claim was unique and that the calculation of damages for each party would be different. As such, trying the claims separately would meet the goals of Rule 1.2(2)(b) and (c). Master Laycock determined that the claims would be a misjoinder, except for the common claim of inducing breach of contract which resulted in a common question of fact with the same legal issues. Given that the Plaintiffs had been granted an opportunity to amend their pleadings, the Court was unable to grant the misjoinder Application until after the pleadings were Amended.

View CanLII Details