TEMPLANZA v FORD, 2018 ABQB 168
1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
2.22: Self-represented litigants
2.23: Assistance before the Court
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)
After an unsuccessful attempt to purchase a condominium in the late 1990s, the Respondent, Rosalind Templanza (“Templanza”) commenced a number of Claims against the Applicants, who were lawyers and law firms in Calgary who had acted either for or against Templanza in her condominium purchase dispute. While the Claims against the various Applicants differed, Templanza’s underlying assertion against all of them was that they engaged in a fraudulent conspiracy to “steal” the condominium from her.
The Applicants each applied to Summarily Dismiss Templanza’s Claims against them, on the basis that they had no merit, pursuant to Rule 7.3.
Neufeld J. noted that in a Summary Judgment Application, the Court should assess whether it is able to fairly and justly make a summary determination on the merits. A Court will be able to do so where the Judge or Master is able to make the necessary findings of fact, and apply the law to the facts to reach a conclusion, without requiring viva voce evidence. In such cases, there is no need to “test” the non-moving party’s evidence through a Trial, because the case can properly be dismissed without doing so. Additionally, the party resisting Summary Judgment must put their best foot forward, rather than relying on “vague assertions” or self-serving Affidavit evidence that is unsupported by other evidence.
Justice Neufeld also emphasized that, under Rule 1.2, the Rules are meant to facilitate a just and fair resolution of Claims “in a timely and cost-effective way”. Pursuant to Rule 1.2(3), this is not a mere objective, but an obligation of the parties.
His Lordship held that the Claims could be dismissed summarily. The facts on the records were sufficient to establish that there was no prospect for success. In respect of the Applicant lawyers who had acted for Parties adverse in interest to Templanza, the Court found that there was no duty of care between them and Templanza; no privity of contract; and that the Claims were time barred pursuant to the Limitations Act, RSA 2000, c L-12. In respect of the Applicant lawyers who had acted for Templanza during the failed real estate transaction, Neufeld J. held that a contractual and professional duty of care did exist, but that any claims that may have existed against those Applicants were limitations barred.
The Applicants sought to have Templanza declared a vexatious litigant, pursuant to ss. 23 to 23.1 of the Judicature Act, RSA 2000, c J-2. Justice Neufeld noted that such an Order may be granted where the "Court is satisfied that a person is instituting vexatious proceedings in the Court or is conducting a proceeding in a vexatious manner”. His Lordship noted that the Judicature Act contains a non-exclusive list of seven examples of vexatious proceedings at s. 23(3).
Neufeld J. assessed Templanza’s activities, and declared her to be a vexatious litigant. His Lordship concluded that restricting her Court access was appropriate, and ordered that Templanza be prohibited from filing documents and materials on her own behalf. His Lordship also directed that Templanza was required to obtain Leave prior to commencing or continuing any Action, Application, Appeal or proceeding. Further, any Application by Templanza for Leave would only be accepted if she was represented by a member of the Law Society of Alberta in good standing.
Neufeld J. noted that Templanza had acted as a Court representative for other individuals. Since there is no constitutional right to act as a Court representative, it was also appropriate to restrict her from acting as a litigation representative. Justice Neufeld also ordered that Templanza was prohibited from acting as an agent, next friend, or representative of another person pursuant to Rules 2.22 and 2.23.
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