Québec – No enforcement of award against alter egos – #681

In a much-anticipated decision, the Québec Court of Appeal overturned Justice Pinsonneault’s first instance decision and quashed the seizure before judgment by garnishment taken against a subsidiary and non-party to an arbitration to answer for the debt of the parent pursuant to an arbitral award. Justice Pinsonneault’s decision was discussed in a previous case note concerning CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd. v. Republic of India, 2022 QCCS 7. In Air India, Ltd. v. CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd., 2022 QCCA 1264, the Court of Appeal unanimously granted the appeal of the parent, ruling that a foreign award cannot be enforced against a third party’s assets unless it is proven: (1) that the third party is the debtor’s alter ego; and (2) that the third party was used in order to conceal fraud, abuse of right or a violation of a public order rule by the debtor. The Court of Appeal ruled that the applicable criteria for the enforcement of a foreign award against the shareholder of a condemned party were the same as the applicable criteria to lift the corporate veil, as codified at section 317 CCQ. Here, those criteria were not met, and the court did not lift the corporate veil.

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Québec – Court dismisses application challenging arbitral tribunal’s joinder of non-signatory – #680

In Newtech Waste Solutions inc. c. Asselin, 2022 QCCS 3537, Justice Bellavance dismissed an application challenging an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdictional decision to join a non-signatory corporation to an arbitration. Justice Bellavance validated the tribunal’s application of jurisprudence on joinder of non-signatories to arbitrations seated in Québec. Although the non-signatory was a stranger to the arbitration agreement, the arbitral tribunal found, and Justice Bellavance agreed, that it was appropriate to join it based on a prima facie showing that the corporation was one of the parties’ alter ego.

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Québec – Fragmentation of shareholders dispute stayed pending appeal on jurisdiction – #678

In Istanboulian v Kalajian, 2022 QCCA 1259, Justice Cournoyer granted leave to appeal from a judgment of the Québec Superior Court, which had referred part of a claim to arbitration. He found that the judgment under appeal caused irremediable injury to the Applicants by possibly preventing them from being heard in the appropriate forum and that it was in the interest of justice to immediately get to the bottom of the jurisdictional issue.

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Québec – Solidary liability allegation no bar to referral to arbitration for one defendant – #671

In Nantel v Gonzalez (not reported), Justice Buchholz stayed an action as against one defendant of a group and referred its dispute with the Plaintiffs to arbitration, even though the Plaintiffs alleged solidary (joint) liability as against all Defendants.

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Québec – Interests of justice require closely linked disputes to be arbitrated – #664

In Tessier v 2428-8516 Québec inc., 2002 QCCS 3159, Justice Dufresne granted an application for a declinatory exception in respect of  an originating application, and referred two disputes involving ownership of two closely connected companies to arbitration where the shareholders of only one of the two companies involved in the disputes were subject to an arbitration agreement. Justice Dufresne found that the disputes were linked. He relied upon the interests of justice and the principle of proportionality and  found that [informal translation]“rather than depriving the shareholders of the first [company] of the effects of the arbitration clause, the shareholders of the second [company] should be ordered to be subject to it.”

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Ontario – Action abuse of process – even against new defendant – where issues already arbitrated – #661

In Doria v Warner Bros. Entertainment Canada Inc. et al., 2022 ONSC 4454, Justice Koehnen granted the Defendants’ motion to strike the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim pursuant to Rule 21.1(3)(d) of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194 on the ground that it was an abuse of process because it sought to relitigate issues that were previously decided by an arbitrator. The Plaintiff argued that s. 139 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, allowed him to bring a subsequent proceeding for the same or similar relief against a person who was jointly liable and who was not bound by a previous judgment. Justice Koehnen found that s. 139 did not apply these circumstances, where the Plaintiff had a full opportunity to have his entire claim adjudicated in the arbitration, was awarded judgment, and had fully collected on the judgment. The Plaintiff’s complaint was that the arbitrator did not grant him his full damages. The fact that the Defendants were not parties to the arbitration and therefore not bound by the award was irrelevant.

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