Marriott j

3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
6.14: Appeal from master’s judgment or order
13.8: Pleadings: other contents

Case Summary

The Defendant brought an Application to strike the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim under Rule 3.68(2)(b) on the basis that the Plaintiffs disclosed no reasonable claim. Master Hanebury had dismissed the Application and the Defendants now appealed the decision of Master Hanebury.

Marriott J. noted that under Rule 6.14, Appeals from Master’s Decisions are conducted de novo and the standard of review is correctness.

The Court noted that Rules 3.68(1)(a) and (2)(b) provide that all or part of a claim may be struck out where it discloses no reasonable cause of Action. As established by the Supreme Court of Canada, a Court should only strike a claim if it is plain and obvious that the pleading discloses no reasonable cause of Action. So long as the Plaintiffs have some chance of success and the claim is arguable, then the Court should allow the matter to proceed to Trial. Also, it is not determinative that the law has not yet recognized a particular claim and Courts should err on the side of permitting a novel, but arguable claim to proceed to Trial.

In applying the test for striking pleadings, the Court may examine a number of factors, including the clarity of the factual pleadings and the existence of case law discussing similar causes of Action. The Court must also assume that the facts as pleaded are true.

The Statement of Claim alleged that the Defendant was negligent and as an alternative pleading, that the Defendant tortiously induced a breach of contract. The Court noted that alternative pleadings are permitted under Rule 13.8. In analyzing the claim, Her Ladyship found that the Statement of Claim disclosed a reasonable cause of action and should not be struck. The Defendants’ Appeal of the Master’s Decision was dismissed.

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