3.72: Consolidation or separation of claims and actions

Case Summary

The Applicants/Plaintiffs (the “Applicants”) sought a Stay of the Action (the “Duplicate Action”) pending the completion of an outstanding Appeal in a California proceeding concerning the same facts and same Parties or enforcement proceedings in Alberta based on the California Action. The Respondent/Defendant (the “Respondent”) submitted that the appropriate path forward was for the Applicants to discontinue the Duplicate Action or for the Court to deny the Stay which would permit the Respondent to bring a Summary Dismissal Application.

More specifically, the Applicant sought a Stay of the Duplicate Action pursuant to Rule 3.72 and section 8 of the Judicature Act, RSA 2000, c J-2. The Court set out that the appropriate framework for granting a Stay to prevent a multiplicity of proceedings was whether (1) the issues in the Action sought to be stayed were substantially the same as the issues in another Action, (2) the continuance of the Action would work an injustice because it would be oppressive or vexatious to one of the Parties or an abuse of the Court’s process; and (3) the Stay would cause an injustice to one of the Parties. The Court noted that there was nothing in Rule 3.72 which restricted the Court’s ability to grant a Stay where there was a multiplicity of proceedings and that there was nothing in Rule 3.72 which foreclosed the possibility that a Plaintiff could not make out a Stay of its own Action.

The Court found that the (1) Applicants/Plaintiffs did not establish that the continuance of the Duplicate Action would be unjust on the basis it was vexatious or oppressive to the Applicants, (2) the Duplicate Action was an abuse of process, but the appropriate remedy is not a Stay but instead, the Duplicate Action should be allowed to continue so that the Respondent could bring a Summary Dismissal Application, and (3) granting a Stay would be unjust to the Respondent as it would prevent her from moving forward with a Summary Dismissal Application. The Application was accordingly dismissed.

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