Friday, March 10, 2017

Is Blacklock’s Now Engaging in a Strategy of Start, Stay and Delay? 

Here are the latest docket entries for T-2090-14 from the Federal Court dealing with the litany of litigation totaling 13 lawsuits against the Federal Government or its agencies. Reading this and the suggestion by iPolitics quoted recently by me here, it would seem to appear that Blacklock’s wants to stay all of these lawsuits other than T-117-17 Blacklock’s v. Attorney General of Canada re Health Canada for $90,100.55 + punitive damages of $25,000.

Date Filed
Recorded Entry Summary
Order dated 09-MAR-2017 rendered by Mireille Tabib, Prothonotary Matter considered with personal appearance The Court's decision is with regard to Case Management Conference Result: 1. The Plaintiff shall, no later than March 21, 2017, serve and file a motion record on any motion to stay any or all of the related actions in favour of another. A single motion record, in three copies, may be filed in respect of all of the related actions to which it relates. Such motion record is to be filed in Court file T-2090-14, and shall bear the style of cause and file numbers of all actions to which it relates. 2. The responding motion record of the Attorney General shall be served and filed no later than April 4, 2017. The Attorney General¿s motion record may contain a cross-motion for alternate remedies, and may likewise be filed as a single record for all relevant actions, in three copies, in Court file T-2090-14. 3. The Plaintiff maye serve and file a responding motion record to the cross-motion(s), by April 18, 2017. The Plaintiff may address all cross-motion(s) of the Attorney General in a single record, to be filed in T-2090-14, in three copies. 4. The motion for a stay will be heard in Ottawa beginning at 9:30 a.m. on May 2, 2017 for a duration not exceeding three hours. Filed on 09-MAR-2017 certified copies sent to parties Transmittal Letters placed on file. entered in J. & O. Book, volume 1328 page(s) 259 - 260 Interlocutory Decision
Ottawa 06-MAR-2017 BEFORE Mireille Tabib, Prothonotary Language: E Before the Court: Case Management Conference Result of Hearing: An Order will issue; T-117-17/T-132-17/T-133-17/T-134-17 will be added as related newly case managed files held in chambers by way of Conference Call Duration per day: 06-MAR-2017 from 10:00 to 11:10 Courtroom : Judge's Chambers - Ottawa Court Registrar: Christen Clement Total Duration: 1h10min Appearances: Yavar Hameed 613-627-2974 representing Plaintiff Alex Kaufman & Sarah Sherhols 613-670-6294 representing Defendant Andrea Pitts 613-787-3576 representing Defendant Allan Matte 819-994-2226 representing Defendant Ariel Thomas 613-696-6879 representing Defendant Comments: The following files were all heard together: T-2090-14/T-269-15/T-477-15/ T-745-15/T-897-15/T-1085-15/T-1234-15/T-1726-15/T-1862-15/T-2042-16 Minutes were taken in T-2090-14 only. Minutes of Hearing entered in Vol. 971 page(s) 80 - 90 Abstract of Hearing placed on file
(highlight added)

Interestingly, Blacklock’s had previously unsuccessfully appealed an order of March 3, 2016 by Mme Prothonotary Tabib imposing a stay  on nine of the ten actions at the time against the Federal Government or its agencies about a year ago.

Now Blacklock’s seems to want to call time out – apparently on all but one of its now baker’s dozen of such cases. It’s unusual to start and then seek to stay one’s own action. Indeed, the Federal Court generally pushes these things along according to the clear timelines set out in the Rules, which can be adjusted as appropriate by the efficient case management practices of the case management judges, in this instance Mme Prothonotary Tabib. The days of long, leisurely and frequent adjournments and delays in civil litigation are long over. An action that has been started and stayed can still run up costs for a defendant – and may, whether rightly or wrongly, put pressure on a party to settle the litigation.

Blacklock’s has lost virtually every important procedural and substantive battle to date in the Federal Court.  Its Small Claims Court victory is of essentially no legal consequence. Blacklock’s is also appealing the $65,000 costs order from its major loss in the first Federal Court case to go to trial. As I have said, such appeals are rarely successful. Has Blacklock’s bitten off more than it can chew?

On the other hand, will the Federal Government and its agencies – many but not all of which are being represented by the same counsel at the Department of Justice – want to fight several cases at once, despite having far more resources than Blacklock’s?  Are there common issues than can be dealt with early in a way that might best serve judicial economy, Canadian taxpayers and, indeed, Blacklock’s itself? It will be interesting to see how the Government responds to Blacklock’s apparent new strategy of start, stay and delay in its litany of litigation.


No comments:

Post a Comment