Thursday, June 22, 2017

Limits on Summary Judgment? Lesenko v. Guerette, 2017 ONCA 522

[30]        Used appropriately, summary judgment motions are an important tool for enhancing access to justice and achieving proportionate, timely and cost-effective adjudication: Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, [2014] 1 S.C.R. 87. In my view, this motion for summary judgment was premature and should not have been brought until the positions of the parties and the issues were well defined. It was unclear from the pleadings and submissions whether the respondent's claim sounded in contract or unjust enrichment. Further, as noted earlier, the appellants had indicated that their pleading required amendment with respect to the payment they were prepared to make. Moreover, the legal basis for the payment remains unclear. Faced with such a motion, where the record is clearly inadequate, a judge should be reluctant to attempt to resolve the case. Substantial costs are thereby incurred, and further delay caused, with little being achieved. As stated in Baywood, at para. 45, "sometimes … it will simply not be possible to salvage something dispositive from an expensive and time-consuming, but eventually abortive, summary judgment process."

 

 

 

 

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