Veit j

7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiffs commenced an Action against the Defendant seeking a Declaration that they were the legal and beneficial owners of certain scrap metal on a construction site. The Defendant, the owner of the lands where the construction site was situated, counterclaimed and applied for Summary Judgment for amounts owing under loan agreements and a rental agreement. The Defendant also sought declaratory relief to terminate a site access agreement between the parties and for the damages to be assessed by a referee. The Plaintiffs argued that Summary Judgment could not be granted because pleadings on the Counterclaim had not closed, and the context of the loan agreements made it inequitable to grant such relief.

Veit J. granted Summary Judgment on the loan and rental agreements, noting that the evidentiary record and the applicable law allowed the Court to make a determination which was fair to all parties, even at the early stages of the Counterclaim proceedings. The agreements were clear, simple and straightforward, and the breach of the agreements was equally clear and straightforward. Her Ladyship stated that the modernized test for Summary Judgment requires that the existing evidentiary record be examined to determine if a pre-Trial disposition can be made which is fair and just to both parties. Justice Veit disagreed with the Plaintiffs’ suggestion that Summary Judgment could not proceed until the pleadings were closed, observing that it was now clear that the wording of Alberta’s current Rules of Court governing Summary Judgment Applications allows such Applications to be brought at any time. As to other relief sought, the damages could be determined by a referee as Rule 7.3(3)(b) made it clear that, where the only real issue to be determined is the amount of damages to be awarded, a Court can refer the matter to a referee. In the result, the Defendant’s Application was granted, with Costs.

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