7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

This was an Application for Summary Judgment brought by the Plaintiff, Imperial Oil Ltd. (“Imperial”), against Alberta (Minister of Transport) (the “Crown”) and the Town of Drayton Valley (the “Town”), as well as a cross-Application brought by the Crown for Summary Dismissal of Imperial’s claim against the Crown.

The subject matter of the Application was a road constructed by the Town, using Crown funding, on land owned by Imperial. Imperial sought various relief against the Crown and the Town by way of Summary Judgment, including an Injunction directing that the land on which the road was constructed be purchase or expropriated. The Crown cross-applied for Summary Dismissal on the basis that it had not constructed the road and was therefore not responsible. The Town argued that neither Summary Judgment nor Summary Dismissal were appropriate in light of uncertainty as to whether it or the Crown was responsible for the road.

The Court reviewed the law of Summary Judgment, including as set out in Rule 7.3. In particular, the Court noted the applicable standard of no genuine issue requiring Trial, as well as the Parties’ requirement to put their best foot forward through the introduction of relevant evidence. The Court further noted that where a Party asserts that there is a genuine issue requiring Trial, that Party must establish, based on the evidence, that there is a realistic prospect that a Trial will create a better record. Speculation, absent other evidence, as to what might be revealed through the Trial process is insufficient.

Reviewing the evidence before it, the Court concluded that it could make the necessary findings of fact and to apply the law to the facts in order to achieve a proportionate, more expeditious, less expensive and just result. Based on concessions by the Crown and the Town, the Court concluded that the road’s construction amounted to a continuing trespass in respect of which no defence was available. The Court granted Imperial’s Summary Judgment Application, including the requested Injunction, without prejudice to the Town’s claim against the Crown for indemnity and contribution.

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