7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

In a debt Action, the Plaintiff applied for Summary Judgment against one of many Defendants based on a guarantee. The Defendant argued that the guarantee was given under duress and that the Plaintiff had not established default on the principal debt.

Master Schlosser thoroughly reviewed the Alberta Courts’ approach to Summary Judgment since the Supreme Court’s decision in Hryniak v Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7 (CanLII), noting that the law is now reasonably well settled. Master Schlosser also cited 776826 Alberta Ltd v Ostrowercha, 2015 ABCA 49 (CanLII) for a summary of approaches by the Court to such Applications. Master Schlosser approved the approach in recent Alberta authorities which articulated the test as having two parts: taking a process perspective, Summary Judgment may be granted if a disposition that is fair and just to both parties can be made on the existing record; and, from the substantive perspective, Summary Judgment can be granted if, in light of what that fair and just process reveals, there is no merit to the Claim.

Master Schlosser held that the Plaintiff’s Application failed for want of evidence. The elements of duress relied on by the Defendant occurred after the guarantees were signed, and therefore this defence was without merit. However, there was no evidence of default or any particular amount owing on the principal debt. Without proof, Summary Judgment was not available.

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