hughes j

7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendants (collectively referred to as the “County”), successfully obtained Summary Judgment under Rule 7.3 on the basis that there was no merit to the claims of the Plaintiffs, collectively (referred to as “Neuroese”). The Action involved Neuroese, a developer, purchasing approximately 625 acres of land in the County of Mountain View in order to develop it in accordance with a development plan. Following an election, and extensive public consultation on the development plan, the County passed a Bylaw that amended the development plan and negatively impacted Neuroese’s ability to re-designate its lands and obtain a development permit. Neuroese appealed the Summary Judgment Decision to a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Hughes J., referring to prior leading authorities, stated that the Court was permitted under Rule 7.3 to grant Summary Judgment where there was “no merit” to a Claim or Defence. Further, there was no genuine issue requiring a Trial when the Court was able to reach a fair and just determination on the merits of the Action or an issue on a motion for Summary Judgment. Justice Hughes noted that this will occur when the process allows the Court to make the necessary findings of fact, apply the law to the facts, and when the process is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive means to achieve a just result. Further, factual disputes between Affidavit evidence did not necessarily mean that Summary Judgment could not be granted. However, Summary Judgment was not possible if the opposing parties’ Affidavits conflicted on material facts or if the Chambers Justice was required to weigh the evidence or assess credibility.

In this case, Hughes J. noted that the Municipal Government Act, RSA 2000, c M-26, granted the County council the discretion to approve or refuse re-designation applications. In order to be successful in their Action, Neuroese had the onus of establishing that the Bylaw was passed for the sole purpose of defeating their re-designation application and not in furtherance of any legitimate public planning purpose. Hughes J. examined Neuroese’s claims and the evidence presented for each claim and held that there was no evidence presented by Neuroese to support any of the claims in the Action. Neuroese failed to demonstrate that there was any issue of merit that genuinely required a Trial. Neuroese’s Appeal was denied.

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