7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiff appealed from an Applications Judge’s Decision which granted Summary Dismissal in favour of the Defendants pursuant to Rule 7.3. The Applications Judge’s Decision was premised on a holding that the resolution of an earlier Action between the same parties, and that the resulting Settlement Agreement and Consent Judgment, constituted a full answer to the Plaintiff’s claim in this new Action.

The Plaintiff’s position on Appeal was twofold: (1) that the Consent Judgment, which arose from the Defendants’ failure to satisfy the Settlement Agreement, was not a Judgment for unpaid wages which was the subject-matter of the new Action; and (2) that conflicting evidence on the records before the Applications Judge rendered Summary Dismissal unavailable.

The Court considered Rule 7.3 and the relevant Summary Judgment case law, and stated that Summary Judgment is available: (1) where the record allows the Court to make the necessary findings of fact and apply the law to the facts; and (2) where Summary Judgment is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive means to achieve a just result. The Court noted that the absence of a genuine issue requiring a Trial is central to this analysis.

With respect to the Plaintiff’s first position, the Court held that it had never been established, through adjudication or otherwise, that the Plaintiff was, from a legal perspective, an employee who was owed wages. As such, the Consent Judgment did not allow the Plaintiff to satisfy the statutory prerequisites for a claim for unpaid wages against the individual Defendants in their capacity as directors. The Court suggested that circumstances would be different had the Consent Judgment made specific reference to “unpaid wages”.

Given this analysis, the Court held that a Trial would not improve the Plaintiff’s position from what was plain and obvious on the record as it then stood, and that, accordingly, the Applications Judge was correct to grant Summary Dismissal.

Justice Mah therefore dismissed the Appeal, with Costs to be addressed separately. 

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