Poelman J

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

Case Summary

The Plaintiff, Coco Homes Inc. (“Coco”) applied to a Master of the Court of Queen’s Bench seeking Summary Judgment to enforce a settlement agreement it alleged was entered into on the eve of Trial. The settlement agreement was proposed orally via a telephone call between counsel, and was accepted through a cursory email exchange. The Defendant, Caleron Properties Ltd’s (“Caleron”) counsel advised the Trial Judge that the parties had settled, and asked that the matter be adjourned sine die while the settlement was being papered. The parties could not settle the matter, and Coco sought to have the settlement agreement enforced.

A Master granted Coco’s Application for Summary Judgment, holding that there was an enforceable settlement agreement, which could be made out on the existing record. Caleron appealed to a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. On appeal, Poelman J. affirmed that an Appeal of a Master’s Decisions under Rule 6.14 is de novo.

Justice Poelman considered whether Summary Judgment was appropriate, referring to the ‘modern’ approach to Summary Judgment. His Lordship noted that the approach in prior leading authorities called “for a more holistic analysis of whether the claim has ‘merit’, and was not confined to the test of a ‘genuine issue for trial’”.

Justice Poelman noted that not every factual dispute or conflict in affidavit evidence will preclude Summary Judgment. The Court may proceed without viva voce evidence “where the judge can make the necessary findings of fact and apply the law to those facts”. His Lordship observed, with respect to Caleron’s evidence that the settlement and the value was a mistake, a “court is not bound to accept patently unreasonable statements of subjective understandings”.

Justice Poelman dismissed the Appeal, upholding the Master’s Decision granting Summary Judgment.

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