British Columbia: – Court partially stays class action related to videogame “loot boxes” – #639

In Petty v Niantic Inc., 2022 BCSC 1077, Justice Mayer stayed a proposed class action in favour of arbitration, except in respect of claims advanced under B.C.’s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act [BPCPA]. He rejected the Representative Plaintiffs’ arguments that the arbitration agreements were null and void for unconscionability and/or violating B.C. public policy. He also applied the competence-competence principle, holding the arbitral tribunal should decide first as to its jurisdiction over claims based on the Competition Act where the parties’ contract provided for California law.

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Ontario – Receiver not bound by international arbitration clause with foreign seat – #626

In Royal Bank of Canada v. Mundo Media Ltd., 2022 ONSC 2147, Justice Penny found that a court-appointed receiver was not required to arbitrate claims under New York law-governed contracts that provided for JAMS arbitration seated in New York. He found that the B.C. Court of Appeal’s analysis in Petrowest Corporation v. Peace River Hydro Partners, 2020 BCCA 339, which focused on the separability of the arbitration clause, was not binding on him, and declined to follow it. Rather, Justice Penny focused on the insolvency law “single proceeding” doctrine. He found that the appointment of the receiver rendered the arbitration clause “inoperative”.

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Federal – Pirating action stayed under New York Convention – #610

In General Entertainment and Music Inc. v. Gold Line Telemanagement Inc., 2022 FC 418, Justice Fothergill of the Federal Court allowed an appeal of the prothonatory’s order and stayed an action for breach of certain provisions of the Copyright Act, the Trademarks Act and the Radiocommunication Act in favour of arbitration seated in Bermuda. In doing so, he applied Article II.3 of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and the Supreme Court of Canada’s jurisprudence on staying court proceedings in favour of arbitration.  The prothonatory erred in applying the law relating to a forum selection clause to an arbitration clause.

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B.C. – Court recognizes/enforces Swiss award, rejecting public policy defence – #597

In Enrroxs Energy and Mining Group v Saddad, 2022 BCSC 285, Justice Crerar granted a petition to enforce a foreign arbitral award under the International Commercial Arbitration Act, RSBC 1996, c 233 (ICAA) and the Foreign Arbitral Awards Act, RSBC 1996, c 154 (FAAA). He rejected the respondent’s attempts to resist enforcement based on the public policy ground in subparagraph 36(1)(b)(ii) of the ICAA and art. V(2)(b) of the FAAA. Justice Crerar also rejected the respondent’s request to stay execution pending a valuation of certain assets that the petitioner had seized, which the responded complained could result in double recovery.

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Québec – Enforcement of foreign award against alter egos – #578

In CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd. v. Republic of India, 2022 QCCS 7, Justice Pinsonnault was seized with several questions with respect to two seizures before judgment by garnishment, which were authorized within the context of an application for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards rendered outside of Québec. What makes this situation of interest is the fact that the seizures before judgment involved assets (money) owned by third parties who were not defendants to the arbitration or named in the awards for which recognition is sought (still pending). They are not implicated at all in the facts alleged in the dispute leading to these awards and they are not targeted in the awards either. Nonetheless, Justice Pinsonnault concluded that the allegations against these third-party corporations (fully owned by the respondent, Republic of India) were sufficient to cause him to confirm the seizure against one of them, although with a revised scope. The seizure against the other corporation was dismissed for other reasons related to the State Immunity Act. The application for recognition and enforcement of the awards remains pending.

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John’s 2021 Top Pick: Ontario – China Yantai Friction Co. Ltd. v. Novalex Inc., 2021 ONSC 3571 and 7714 – #566

My top pick for 2021 stands for the proposition that a foreign award creditor will not be ordered to post security for costs simply by virtue of being a non-resident seeking to recognize and enforce an arbitral award. In China Yantai Friction Co. Ltd. v. Novalex Inc., 2021 ONSC 3571, a three-person panel of the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the “Divisional Court”) granted leave to appeal two interlocutory orders, including the order requiring the foreign award creditor China Yantai Friction Co. Ltd. (“Friction”) to post security for costs in the amount of $76,376.71. This case is important because it provides support for Ontario as an “arbitration-friendly” jurisdiction, and, as the Divisional Court noted, “[13] … it speaks to the response of Canadian courts to international comity and our relationship to the courts of other countries.

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