Rainbow

Rainbow

Monday, May 24, 2010

Siblings, the family farm, and nasty litigation

Here's how a recent decision of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench begins:
It is unfortunate that at this stage of their lives siblings are involved in nasty litigation. Mr. Chemerinski is the brother of Susan Richter. Anne Marie Chemerinski was their mother. She died on November 1, 2009. Before her death, she was unable to look after her own affairs. Her son William held a Power of Attorney and looked after her affairs. Calvin Richter is Susan’s husband. In 2002 The Richters started an action for damages against these Respondents and the estate of Anne’s late husband Carson based on breach of contract, unjust enrichment or quantum meruit arising out of a joint farming operation near High Prairie, Alberta. In another action, Susan was named the Defendant by Anne. This action dates to 2002. Anne claimed repayment of an alleged $40,000.00 loan to her daughter. In another Queen’s Bench action dating from 2006, Susan is a Plaintiff along with her sister Christine and Bill and Anne are two of the Defendants. In this action two sisters are pitted against their brother and mother. This claim relates to the ownership of a joint investment account held by the Plaintiffs and their mother at CIBC Wood Gundy.

This multifaceted litigation has been disastrous for this family on two levels. It has been emotionally and financially crippling. The litigants are in their late 50s and early 60s. Any vestiges of family harmony have been destroyed. The litigation has accomplished very little other than to create bitterness and deplete resources. It is a prime example of what can happen if litigants possess an abundance of bile and resources.
Read the rest of the decision at: Richter v. Chemerinski.