7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiff, Nelson, sued the Defendant, the City of Grande Prairie (the “City”) for personal injuries resulting from a slip and fall on a City sidewalk. The City brought an Application for Summary Dismissal of the Claim.

Master Schlosser first considered whether the City’s Defence needed to be unassailable or merely probable; the Master noted division in the Court of Appeal on the issue of the applicable standard for Rule 7.3 applications. After surveying the leading authorities on the standard of proof in Summary Judgment cases, Master Schlosser proposed that there might be a middle way. As stated by the Master, “to require that the standard be high that a claim or defence is (or has been) proved on a balance of probabilities is not to incorporate two civil standards of proof but only to require a higher standard for what the Court thinks of the record, or the quality of the evidence at this stage of the proceedings.”

Ultimately, Master Schlosser did not decide which standard was applicable to Rule 7.3 applications. Instead, Master Schlosser found that the gaps in the evidence prevented Summary Dismissal on the current record. Master Schlosser dismissed the City’s Application with leave to re-apply on a more fulsome record.

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