7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendants applied for Summary Judgment dismissing all Claims against them in an unjust enrichment and constructive trust action. The Plaintiff alleged that her ex-husband caused transfers of funds between the two Defendant companies for the purpose of defeating her matrimonial property interest in one of the companies, and that she held interests in both companies by way of a constructive trust.

Justice Read noted that the applicable test was whether there was, in fact, any issue of merit that genuinely required a Trial, or whether a decision could be made on the existing record that was fair and just to both parties. Her Ladyship held that there were numerous factual issues which prevented the Court from making the necessary findings of facts. Such factual issues included whether or not the Respondent was an employee of the companies, the existence of a collateral oral agreement and whether the agreement was valid and enforceable. Justice Read further held that the Court was unable to apply the law to the facts, even if the facts were clear, because the law in respect of a principal issue was unclear. Read J. noted that the law may not actually support the argument raised by the Applicants regarding the codification of the law in respect of constructive trusts for married people. Justice Read also determined that the issue of undue influence genuinely required a Trial. Lastly, it was not fatal to the Claim that no specific remedy was sought, other than a declaration. The Application for Summary Judgment was dismissed.

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