7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiff applied for Summary Judgment against the Town of Stony Plain (the “Town” or the “Defendant”), on the basis that there were no genuine issues to be tried in relation to its claim.

The Plaintiff was a registered owner of a remainder lot created from a plan of subdivision registered by the Defendant. The Plaintiff acquired the subdivision lands from a foreclosure sale in January, 2011. At that time, the Town claimed to be owed $136,290.18 in outstanding utility charges and penalties.

The charges related to a water leak, which the Town alleged was the responsibility of the owner and sole occupier of the subdivision lands at the time. The Plaintiff, a subsequent purchaser, paid $140,871.54 to the Town under protest to clear its title, and then commenced this Action to recover those funds.

The Court noted that the test for Summary Judgment is the same as under the old Rules, citing Encana Corp v ARC Resources Ltd, 2011 ABQB 431. The Court stated that “the Applicant is required to establish that there are no genuine issues for trial”. If a Summary Judgment Application is based on “factual merit,” then the Applicant must establish “beyond doubt” that there is no genuine issue for trial.

The Court further explained that, if a Summary Judgment Application is based on the interpretation of documents or a statute, the test for Summary Judgment is:

… whether the issue of law can fairly be decided on the record before the court. If the legal issue is unsettled or complex or intertwined with the facts, it is sometime[s] necessary to have a full trial to provide a proper foundation for the decision.

The Court determined that there were genuine issues for Trial, and dismissed the Plaintiff’s Application for Summary Judgment.

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