MILLER v JACKSON, 2021 ABQB 281
3.61: Request for particulars
3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)
13.7: Pleadings: other requirements
This Action arose from a dispute between the Defendant farm operators and their Plaintiff workers. The Plaintiffs sued for: (i) unpaid wages due to one of the Plaintiffs, Mr. Miller, (ii) damages for tools destroyed in a fire; (iii) revenues owing on a crop share arrangement; and (iv) damages for defamation. The Defendants counterclaimed for a mortgage debt against the Plaintiffs. The Defendants applied for partial Summary Judgment and/or Summary Dismissal, and conceded that some issues at bar required a full Trial, while the Plaintiffs argued that all issues must proceed to Trial.
The Defendants had served a Request for Particulars of the defamation claim pursuant to Rule 3.61. While the Plaintiffs had provided a response to the Request for Particulars, that response still did not clarify to whom the alleged defamatory statements were made. Master Summers found that the allegation that defamatory statements were made to “certain persons” was insufficient to satisfy Rule 13.7(f), which necessitates pleading the specifics of a defamation claim. The Plaintiffs were required to identify a specific recipient of that statement. As such, the defamation claim was struck pursuant to Rule 3.68 due to this deficiency.
The Court also found that the evidentiary record was unsatisfactory to summarily dismiss the unpaid wages claim based on a limitations issue, and therefore declined the Application for Summary Dismissal brought by the Defendants pursuant to Rule 7.3. Similarly, the Defendants’ Application for Summary Judgment with respect to the Counterclaim was also dismissed, as there remained an outstanding accounting of farm profits which played into the amount owing under the mortgage agreement via the crop sharing arrangement.View CanLII Details