TP v DR B, 2016 ABQB 158


7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendant physician was disciplined by his professional association for interviewing the Plaintiff’s 13 year old daughter at the behest of the child’s father without the Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent, notwithstanding that the Plaintiff was the mother and guardian of the child. As a result of the interview, and the Defendant’s subsequent report which found that the father should have primary care of the child, the Plaintiff consented to an Order which gave custody of the child to the father. The Plaintiff commenced a civil Action seeking remedies for the Defendant’s issuance of the report. The Defendant applied to summarily dismiss the Claim against him pursuant to Rule 7.3.

Master Prowse noted that the Court must determine whether there is “any issue of merit that genuinely requires a trial or, conversely, whether the claim or defence is so compelling that the likelihood it will succeed is very high such that it should be determined summarily”, and whether “examination of the existing record can lead to an adjudication and disposition that is fair and just to both parties”. Master Prowse held that a cause of action does not arise simply because the Defendant acted in a way which resulted in a professional sanction. There was no evidence to suggest that there was a duty of care, or that the Defendant was careless in preparing the report or that he was motivated by malice. Accordingly, Master Prowse allowed the Defendant’s Application for summary dismissal of the proceedings against him.

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