master robertson

1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.62: Amending pleading
6.44: Persons who are referees
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Plaintiff (Defendant by Counterclaim), SRG Takamiya Co Ltd. (“SRG”) applied for Summary Judgment and, in support of the Application, to amend its Statement of Claim to include unjust enrichment. The Defendant (Plaintiff by Counterclaim), Sprung Instant Structures Ltd (“Sprung”), argued that if SRG was allowed to amend its Statement of Claim, Sprung should be allowed to defend the amended claims; and, SRG’s claims should be resolved at the same time as the Counterclaim.

Master Robertson considered whether the amendment to the Statement of Claim was required, and held that the Rules require parties to plead facts, not the law, and thus, there is no requirement to specifically state the cause of action on which a claim is based, despite it being advisable to do so for clarity. Master Robertson held that the amendment to add unjust enrichment was unnecessary as the Statement of Claim pled the facts which supported a claim for unjust enrichment. Master Robertson held that SRG was entitled to Summary Judgment pending a determination of damages because Sprung had refused to comply with the contract between the parties. Master Robertson noted that Rule 7.3(3)(b) provides that, in an Application for Summary Judgment a Court may determine the issue of damages or refer the matter to a referee, which include Masters in Chambers pursuant to Rule 6.44. Master Robertson proceeded to assess damages for the value of the disputed structure, and directed that the parties return with further evidence regarding reasonable shipping costs, as well as argument concerning the appropriate date for a US dollar to Canadian dollar conversion.

Sprung requested a Stay of Enforcement on the basis that it would be unfair to grant Judgment to a foreign company while there was an active Counterclaim against it. Sprung alleged that SRG was withholding relevant and material information for the Counterclaim, and as a result of this refusal SRG had caused staged litigation where the Counterclaim had to be resolved at a later date. Master Robertson noted that the Foundational Rule supports the notion that the determination of a clear claim should not be delayed simply because the Defendant has a Counterclaim, and the parties must identify the real issues in dispute. Master Robertson held that the enforcement of the Judgment against Sprung would be stayed until the earlier of: 18 months from the date of the determination of the Award, settlement of the Claim and Counterclaim and the filing of Discontinuances or Consent Judgments accordingly, and Judgment against SRG in the Counterclaim. Alternatively, Master Robertson held that the Stay would end if SRG posted a bond from a Canadian bonding or insurance company for the full amount sought in the Counterclaim including interest. SRG’s Application for Summary Judgment was granted.

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