JO v ALBERTA, 2012 ABQB 599


1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.65: Permission of Court to amendment before or after close of pleadings
13.6: Pleadings: general requirements

Case Summary

J.O. brought an Action against the Crown for breach of fiduciary duty, amongst other allegations, which resulted in the serious injury of a child in foster care. J.O. applied for Orders declaring that she had amended the Statement of Claim pursuant to Rule 3.65. The Crown argued that J.O.’s amendments should not have been allowed as they were repetitive, superfluous, unnecessarily inflammatory, and conclusive rather than explanatory (the Amended Claim added words such as “maliciously” and “recklessly”). Interpreting Rule 1.2, Justice Graesser made the following comments with respect to Pleadings and litigation efficiency:

This is not an exercise in creating a perfect pleading. It is intended to result in a pleading that is comprehensible and precise, identifies the real issues in dispute, pleads relevant facts without conclusions and speculation, pleads causes of action which are not hopeless, provides sufficient facts to enable the opposite parties to understand the case against them, and is not frivolous or vexatious, all the while being succinct and in accordance with Rules 13.1 to 13.12. It is not up to the Court to draft pleadings for the parties.

The Court voiced concerns regarding the Amended Statement of Claim. The Amended Claim was not concise and contained some evidence as opposed to facts. Nevertheless, the Court permitted the amendments, stating that the Claim was not so objectionable that the Court should strike otherwise relevant provisions. Justice Graesser noted that his failure to “cut deeper” into the wording of the Amended Statement of Claim should not be viewed as tacit acceptance that the Amended Statement of Claim satisfied Rule 13.6.

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