1.2: Purpose and intention of these rules
3.68: Court options to deal with significant deficiencies
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

The Defendants applied to strike the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim and Reply for Demand for Particulars under Rule 3.68 because they disclosed no reasonable claim; or alternatively, to dismiss the Plaintiff’s Claim under Rule 7.3.

The Plaintiff had suffered injuries while at a work site and had engaged the Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”) processes to receive compensation. The WCB allowed her initial claim and then allowed a second claim based on injuries that it ruled were “secondary”. The Plaintiff then made a third claim based on chronic pain she alleged was also as a result of the initial injury which claim was denied. The Plaintiff exhausted the appeals mechanisms within the WCB and applied for a judicial appeal of the WCB decision, which was also denied. The Plaintiff then filed a Statement of Claim, naming the WCB as a Defendant.

Justice Bast reviewed the distinction between the remedies of striking and Summary Judgment and noted that the Court may order all or part of a Claim struck out pursuant to Rule 3.68 where it discloses no reasonable claim. Bast J. noted that no evidence is to be considered on an Application pursuant to Rule 3.68(3), and that the facts plead in the Claim at issue are presumed to be true.

Rule 7.3, by contrast, permits a Court to dismiss an Action where “there is no merit to a claim or part of it”. A Rule 7.3 Application must be supported by an Affidavit or other evidence. A Court may dismiss one or more claims in the Action, pursuant to Rule 7.3(3)(a). Her Ladyship reviewed leading authorities and noted that Summary Judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue requiring a Trial, that is, whether the decision-maker is able to reach a fair and just determination on the merits. This is the case where the process allows the Court to (1) make the necessary findings of fact, (2) apply the law to the facts, and (3) where Summary Judgment is a proportionate, more expeditious and less expensive way to achieve a just result. Summary Judgment rules must be interpreted broadly, favouring proportionality, and fair access to timely and just adjudication of claims. Rule 1.2 informs the application of both Rule 3.68 and Rule 7.3, and that there is an obligation on the parties to identify the real issues in dispute and facilitate the quickest means of resolving the claim at the least expense.

Justice Bast struck the Plaintiff’s Claim pursuant to Rule 3.68 including the claims against the WCB for negligence due to the statutory immunity clause in the WCB’s enabling legislation. Other claims, including “false pretences” and invasion of privacy, were struck for failing to disclose a cause of action. Many other causes of action, such as abuse of public office, were struck for a failure to plead any supporting facts. In the alternative, Justice Bast dismissed the entirety Claim under Rule 7.3 because a fair and just determination of the Claim was possible from the record and it could be determined that there was no merit to the Plaintiff’s claims. The Defendants’ Application was granted.

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