Civil Litigation: Anti-SLAPP

Gurmukhjeet Buttar, et al. v. 2110120 Ontario Inc. o/a Cargo County Group, et al., 2023 ONCA 539 (40957)
Truck drivers claimed past wages and benefits were due to them as former employees of Cargo County Group. They were supported by two organizations that organized rallies and a phone campaign. The truck drivers made allegedly harassing and defamatory statements about Cargo County Group and its principals, and statements were posted on-line. Cargo County Group and its principals commenced an action seeking damages and injunctive relief. The defendants moved to dismiss the action under s. 137.1 of the Courts of Justice Act. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the motion as anti-SLAPP. The Ont. C.A. dismissed an appeal. “It is not necessary to consider the motion for leave to intervene filed by the Workers’ Action Centre, as it already has intervener status pursuant to rule 22(2)(c)(i) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada. The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed with costs to 2110120 Ontario Inc. o/a Cargo County Group, Randeep Sandhu, Karanjit Sidhu, Evandeep Sandhu and Paweldeep Sandhu. The application for leave to cross-appeal is dismissed.”

Civil Litigation: Vexatious Litigation

Mokua Gichuru, et al. v. Vancouver Swing Society, Matthew Lam, Kaitlin Russell, Angelena Weddell, et al., 2023 BCCA 345 (40988)
The Applicant, Mr. Gichuru, has commenced numerous petitions and civil claims. Several have been declared vexatious. He was precluded from commencing proceedings in the B.C.S.C. without leave unless he paid outstanding costs awards. He sought leave to file judicial review applications in respect of two decisions of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. A Supreme Court judge denied leave, noting the existence of unpaid costs, and stating that the petitions did not have sufficient merit to justify the granting of leave. The B.C.C.A. dismissed Mr. Gichuru’s appeals. It concluded that the judge was entitled to find that the merits of the proposed proceedings were insufficient to justify allowing them to proceed. No reversible error had been shown. “The motion to join two files from the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in a single application for leave to appeal is granted. The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”

Criminal Law: Narcotics

D.D. v. R., 2023 ONCA 766 (41050)
Mr. Davidov worked as the head dispatcher for a trucking company. Fifty kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of $4.5M, were imported into Canada on one of the company’s trailers. The cocaine was hidden in bins containing a cargo of plastic resin and discovered during an inspection of the trailer at the border. Mr. Davidov was convicted on a two-count indictment of importation of a Schedule I substance and conspiracy to commit the importation of a Schedule I substance. The Ont. C.A. dismissed the conviction appeal. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed.”

Employment Law: Employment Insurance Benefits

Neculai Otoman v. Attorney General of Canada, 2023 FCA (40970)
The Applicant, Neculai Otoman, filed a claim for employment insurance benefits, and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission informed him that he was not eligible for the benefits. The Commission reconsidered and upheld its decision, and the Social Security Tribunal also came to the conclusion that Mr. Otoman was not eligible for the benefits. Mr. Otoman applied for judicial review of the decision of the Social Security Tribunal’s Appeal Division, which had denied leave to appeal the Social Security Tribunal’s decision, finding that there was no reasonable chance of success for his arguments. Before the court ruled on the application for judicial review, Mr. Otoman filed a motion with the Federal Court to obtain a default judgment and the employment insurance benefits with related damages. He alleged fault on the part of the Respondent, the Attorney General of Canada. St-Louis J. of the Federal Court dismissed Mr. Otoman’s motion. She was satisfied that Mr. Otoman’s motion for default judgment granting benefits lacked the requisite legal and factual basis. Boivin J.A. of the Fed. C.A. issued an order dismissing Mr. Otoman’s motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal against the Federal Court’s interlocutory order. He considered the parties’ submissions, the principles developed regarding the granting of extensions of time, and the fact that the motion was unfounded. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed with costs.”

Government Liability: Health Care Access

Yoo Seok Chung aka Paul Chung v. R. in Right of the Province of British Columbia, 2023 BCCA 294 (40921)
The Applicant, Mr. Chung, brought an action in the B.C.S.C. Columbia seeking damages and declaratory relief against the Respondent Province. The Applicant alleged the Respondent negligently failed to consider his application for access to a medication that might have prevented the progress of a very rare disease that afflicted him. His pleadings also alleged breaches of his ss. 7, 12 or 15 rights under the Charter. The Respondent brought an application to strike the Applicant’s notice of civil claim under R. 9-5(1)(a) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, as disclosing no reasonable cause of action. The Court granted the Respondent’s application to strike and dismissed the Applicant’s action. The chambers judge concluded the pleadings did not disclose a reasonable cause of action in either negligence or for Charter rights breaches. A majority of the B.C.C.A. allowed the appeal in part, concluding that the chambers judge correctly dismissed the Applicant’s Charter claims, but erred in dismissing the claim founded in negligence. One judge would have allowed the appeal also on the basis of the s. 15(1) Charter claim. “The application for leave to appeal…is dismissed with costs.”