2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Devastating admissions" by defendant in cattle case leads to summary judgment

Though the test may vary from province to province, a judge may grant summary judgment generally when there is no genuine issue for trial.  That is, if there is no legal issue that needs to be determined at trial in order to dispose of a case, one of the parties to a lawsuit may apply to the Court to have the case decided by way of a motion for summary judgment.

In a recent decision on a summary judgment motion brought by the plaintiff, Master Harrison of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench found that "devastating" admissions made by the defendant in the case during examinations for discovery were determinative of the case.  For that reason, there would be no purpose in going to trial and summary judgment was granted.

The case in question involved an "arrangement" where the plaintiff would receive on a regular basis requests or orders from the defendant to purchase cattle.  The plaintiff would go out and buy the cattle, usually at auction, and then deliver the cattle to the defendant and render bills to the defendant.  Eventually the defendant refused to pay and the arrangement ended.  The plaintiff sued for some $80,000.  The defendant counter-sued for $12,000.

Summary judgment was granted in the plaintiff's action because the defendant admitted during examinations for discovery that he had acknowledged the debt to the plaintiff and told the plaintiff that he would pay:
Yes. I offered him that because I lost so much money. And I said, ‘Okay. You know what? I will pay you so much a month until it’s paid, until you are paid.’ But that’s it for us. We are done.”
On the defendant's countersuit, the Court could not grant summary judgment.  The Master ruled that:
This court is not prepared to spend twenty pages of time and space in terms of a detailed analysis of the issues arising in the counterclaim. The evidence of the corporate representatives of the parties is so conflicted that only a trial, in my opinion, would resolve the substantial credibility issues outstanding within the counterclaim. It is true that the affidavit evidence before the court regarding the faxing of invoices concerning the counterclaim cattle does put the corporate defendant in an unfavourable light. However, the overall calibre of the said evidence is simply not strong enough show that the plaintiff has met the legal burden.
Read the decision at: ADJ Livestock v 4486413 Manitoba Ltd.