SUN v HUANG, 2021 ABQB 781


7.5: Application for judgment by way of summary trial
10.31: Court-ordered costs award

Case Summary

The Plaintiff brought an Application for Summary Trial pursuant to Rule 7.5; the Defendants did not object. The Court noted that the appropriate test for whether a Summary Trial is appropriate is if the Court (1) could decide disputed questions of fact on affidavits or by other proceedings authorized by the Rules of Court for summary trials, and 2) whether it would be unjust to decide the issues in such a way.

The Court found that a Summary Trial was appropriate because (1) the affidavits of the Plaintiff and viva voce evidence by the Defendant were sufficient to determine the issues, (2) there were few facts in dispute, (3) a fair outcome of the Claim did not depend on findings of credibility that could not be resolved on the evidence before the Court, (4) the issues for determination were not complex,  and (5) the Court noted that, because neither party objected to the Summary Trial process, it would be unjustified to put them through the expense and delay associated with sending the matter to a full trial.

The Plaintiff’s claim against the Defendants was ultimately dismissed. The Court determined that it may award costs to self-represented litigants pursuant to Rule 10.31(5) in an amount equivalent to the fees specified in Schedule C, however it was obligated to ensure the objectives of discouraging frivolous litigation and encouraging settlement were met.

The Court considering costs in accordance with Rule 10.31(5) noted that the Defendants (1) were the successful parties who had no choice but to respond to the claim against them, and (2) they did nothing to prolong the litigation and had no interest in doing so. Additionally, the Plaintiff (1) had a claim which was wholly without merit, (2) served lengthy and repetitive affidavits on the Defendants, and (3) grossly inflated the claim amount in way that could only be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate the Defendants. The Court found that the Plaintiff’s conduct must be discouraged, and the costs award was the means by which to achieve that objective. It exercised its discretion to award costs to the successful Defendants.

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