1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
5.12: Penalty for not serving affidavit of records
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)
9.4: Signing judgments and orders
10.29: General rule for payment of litigation costs
13.7: Pleadings: other requirements
14.5: Appeals only with permission

Case Summary

The Decision of Justice Little arose from a two-day hearing which addressed a range of Applications by both the Plaintiff, Gregory Lincoln Paraniuk (“Mr. Paraniuk”), and the Defendants in the underlying Action (the “Action”). The Action related to accusations that certain Police Defendants had inappropriately and negligently responded to noise and threat complaints by Mr. Paraniuk, and an April of 2013 incident where Mr. Paraniuk was allegedly assaulted by an unidentified person (the “Incident”).

Mr. Paraniuk’s Statement of Claim (the “Claim”) alleged, inter alia, that: (1) the Defendant, Chief Knecht, was vicariously liable for the actions of the Police Defendants, pursuant to the Police Act, RSA 2000, c P-17; (2) the condominium corporation and property management company were liable for the Incident; and (3) the Defendants Raelene Keefe and Paul Keefe (“the Keefes”), residents in the condominium, were parties to the Incident and had subsequently defamed Mr. Paraniuk (collectively the “Defendants”). The Claim was amended twice to add various Police Defendants and additional particulars of the events relating to the Incident (the “Amended Claim”).

In late 2017 all of the Defendants applied to have the Amended Claim struck under Rules 3.68 and 7.3. The Defendants alleged that the Amended Claim did not disclose any issue or reasonable claim that required Trial, and that the Action was frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of process. The Keefes also argued that Mr. Paraniuk’s allegations of defamation did not meet the requirement for particulars under Rule 13.7. Justice Little reviewed the relevant jurisprudence on foundational Rule 1.2 and Rule 3.68. Justice Little noted that in evaluating pleadings, the Court is to accept pleaded facts as true; however, those facts must be pled clearly and, on application, the Court may reject alleged facts which are patently ridiculous or incapable of being proven.

After a comprehensive review of the factual history of the Action, Justice Little found that there was no evidence to the allegations made by Mr. Paraniuk and no question that Mr. Paraniuk’s litigation activities exhibited indicia of vexatious and abusive litigation. As such Justice Little ruled, inter alia, that: (1) Mr. Paraniuk was a vexatious litigant, and was therefore prohibited from commencing any proceeding in the Courts of Alberta; (2) Mr. Paraniuk must apply to a single Appeal Judge for leave to commence or continue any proceeding and, even if the single Appeal Judge grants leave to commence an Appeal, Mr. Paraniuk may still be required to apply for permission to Appeal under Rule 14.5(1)(j); and (3) that the approval of the parties as to the form and content of the foregoing Order was not required per Rule 9.4(2)(c).

An ancillary issue also arose wherein Mr. Paraniuk applied to the Court for an Order that the Defendants pay a penalty for late service of their Affidavits of Records, per Rule 5.12(1). The Defendants justified the delays on the basis that Mr. Paraniuk’s pleadings were continuously evolving at the time the records were to be provided which meant that what was relevant and ought to be included in their respective records was also evolving. Justice Little agreed with the Defendants and found that no Rule 5.12 penalties should be imposed. His Lordship noted that Rule 5.12 does not mandate automatic penalty awards that Mr. Paraniuk was not prejudiced by any delays, and that Mr. Paraniuk could not complain about delays for which he was the architect.

Little J. concluded by finding that the Defendants had been entirely successful in relation to all Applications heard and were presumptively due their Costs, per Rule 10.29. After referencing the leading jurisprudence on the approach to a Costs award in abusive litigation scenarios, His Lordship found that a lump sum award was appropriate and ordered Costs of $20,000.00 payable in favour of each group of Defendants.

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