13.6: Pleadings: general requirements

Case Summary

The subject of this Appeal was a Case Management Judge’s Order allowing the Appellants, Stony Tribal Council et. al., to amend their Statement of Claim to include a claim of unjust enrichment against the Respondent, Encana Corporation. More specifically, the Appellants objected to a condition attached to the Order granting the amendment. The Order added that the effective date of the unjust enrichment claim for limitations purposes would be September 21, 2012 when a response to a Demand for Particulars was provided, and not September 28, 2001, the date of the previously Amended Statement of Claim adding the Respondent’s corporate predecessor as a party. This disparity in timing was impactful because the claim was in regards to oil and gas payments.

The Appellants argued that a claimant is only required to plead facts, not causes of action and that the original 2001 Statement of Claim included the essential elements of unjust enrichment. Therefore, the claim for unjust enrichment should be effective circa September 2001. The Respondent argued that the Case Management Judge had the discretion to grant an amendment to a pleading and should be afforded considerable deference on Appeal.

The Court of Appeal Panel confirmed that the applicable Rule is 13.6(2)(a) which requires that a pleading state the facts on which a party relies, but not the evidence by which the facts are to be proved. The Panel then ruled that the original 2001 Statement of Claim should be interpreted as alleging that the Respondent was enriched by the removal of valuable oil and gas to the corresponding detriment of the Appellant. In short, the elements of unjust enrichment had been previously pled.

As a result, the Panel ruled that there was no reasonable basis for the Case Management Judge to use September 2012 for limitations purposes because the unjust enrichment claim was already adequately pled in the 2001 Amended Statement of Claim. The Appeal was allowed and the Order of the Case Management Judge was amended to delete the condition regarding effective dates.

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