6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order

Case Summary

Two Appeals in related Actions were brought pertaining to HOOPP Realty Inc. (“HOOPP”) and concerning two Summary Dismissal Applications (the “Applications”) in lawyers’ negligence claims (the “Actions”). Hoopp had commenced the Actions against two of its former counsel (“Dentons” and “Emery Jamieson”) for their respective handling of a lawsuit against a contractor and a failure to recognize a mandatory arbitration provision.

The Master, at first instance, had granted Emery Jamieson’s Application, dismissing the Action as against Emery Jamieson as having been statute barred. The Master had dismissed Dentons’ Application, finding that the claim against Dentons was multi-faceted and expert evidence would be required. HOOPP appealed the Master’s Decision on the limitation period (the “HOOPP Appeal”) and Dentons appealed the Master’s Decision on the merits (the “Dentons Appeal”). The Chambers Judge upheld the Master’s Decision, finding that both Decisions were correct in both fact and law.

At the Court of Appeal (the “Second Appeal”), the Court reviewed the complex factual history between the parties. HOOPP argued, on the Second Appeal, that the Chambers Judge had failed to treat the Appeal before him as a de novo hearing and that it was an error for the Chambers Judge to adopt portions of the Master’s reasons. The Court reviewed Rule 6.14 pertaining to the record before a Chambers Judge on an Appeal of a Master’s Decision and noted it is not an error for a Chambers Judge to summarily describe their analysis and conclusions with reference to the Master’s Decision if the Chambers Judge finds that it was correct in fact and law.

Having failed to identify any error in the Chambers Judge’s reasons or conclusions that warranted appellate intervention, the Court dismissed the HOOPP Appeal.

Turning to Dentons Appeal, the Court found that the Master was alive to the multi-faceted nature of the claim against Dentons and the interrelationship between the claims against both law firm parties. With all the unknowns and possibilities, the Court found that the Master could not fairly resolve the dispute on a summary basis. The Court noted that the Chambers Judge was also similarly satisfied that the record raised triable issues and prevented Summary Dismissal. The Court concluded that Dentons failed to identify any reviewable error and accordingly, the Court dismissed the Dentons Appeal.

View CanLII Details