THE SEMEX ALLIANCE v HI TECH DAIRY EQUIPMENTS INC, 2019 ABQB 70
1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.30: Defendant’s options
11.31: Setting aside service
13.6: Pleadings: general requirements
The Defendants applied for a Stay of proceedings on the basis that the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench did not have jurisdiction over the dispute, or, alternatively, that was not the convenient forum. The Defendants alternatively applied for an Order directing the Plaintiff to amend its Statement of Claim to omit the lengthy quotations of the agreements at issue which were quoted.
The Plaintiff argued that the Defendants had attorned to the jurisdiction of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench by delivering a Statement of Defence which addressed the merits of the claim, as well as by bringing the present Application which included seeking a declaration from the Court. The Plaintiff relied on Rules 3.30 and 11.31 for these assertions. Master Robertson noted that Rule 3.30, which sets out Defendants’ options for dealing with a claim, allows a Defendant to “do one or more of three things, including applying to set aside service under [R]ule 11.31” [emphasis in original]. Master Robertson acknowledged that an Application under Rule 11.31 could only be made before the Defendant files a Statement of Defence, and that such an Application is not an acknowledgement of jurisdiction of the Court.
However, Master Robertson held that any principle which provides that a Defendant attorns to the jurisdiction by delivering a Statement of Defence which touches on matters other than jurisdiction, is “due for re-consideration”. Master Robertson noted that this principle is at odds with the foundational Rule 1.2 as it potentially requires Defendants to defend twice (first on jurisdiction, and, if unsuccessful, on the merits). Master Robertson also noted that discouraging the filing of a full defence to the claim does not facilitate identifying the real issues in dispute.
Despite finding that the Defendants had not attorned to the jurisdiction of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Master Robertson found that the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench did have jurisdiction, and that the Action should not be stayed on account of there being a more convenient forum.
Regarding the Application to require the Plaintiff to amend the Statement of Claim, Master Robertson noted that the boundary between evidence and facts can be inexact, but that the pleading of contractual provisions from the agreement sued upon is distinct from pleading quotations from communication between the parties. Master Robertson noted that “[q]uoting the relevant passages from an agreement in a contract breach case is generally a good practice provided that the quoting is not excessive”. Master Robertson noted that Rule 13.6 requires a Statement of Claim to be succinct, and that the Statement of Claim in the present Application had more quotations than were probably necessary. However, Master Robertson held that the quotations did not make the claim difficult to follow, and did not require interference by the Court. The Applications were dismissed.View CanLII Details