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BLAWG Post

Aug 24, 2017

Hughes Amys' Greg Bailey and Bevin Shores successful on S.C.C. leave application dealing with whether re-litigation of an issue in a SABS priority dispute was an abuse of process

Posted in Accident Benefits

Author Michael S. Teitelbaum

Related Lawyers Bevin Shores and Greg Bailey

Further to the previous Blawg post, pasted below, new congratulations to Greg Bailey and Bevin Shores are in order, as the Supreme Court of Canada, on August 24th, 2017, dismissed a leave to appeal application from the Ontario Court of Appeal decision which accepted their submissions that there is no abuse of process in re-litigating, in a SABS priority dispute, whether a claimant vehicle was insured.

Well Done, Greg and Bevin!

The Supreme Court's Order and summary of the case and issue before it are pasted immediately below.

August 24, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Coram: McLachlinC.J. and Abella, Moldaver, Karakatsanis, Wagner, Gascon, Côté, Brown and RoweJJ.

 

 

 

 

 

BETWEEN:

Intact Insurance Company

Applicant

- and -

Federated Insurance Company of

Canada

Respondent

 

 

 

 

 

JUDGMENT

 

The application for leave to appeal from the judgment of theCourt of Appeal for Ontario, Numbers M46124 and C62225, 2017 ONCA 73, dated January27,2017, is dismissed with costs.

 

 

Intact Insurance Company v. Federated Insurance Company of Canada

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Arbitration - Abuse of process.

Summary

Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch). Please note that summaries are not provided to the Judges of the Court. They are placed on the Court file and website for information purposes only.

Arbitration — Abuse of process — Automobile accident — Dispute between insurance companies over payment of statutory accident benefits — Driver convicted of a criminal offence for operating his motor vehicle on a highway without insurance — Preliminary issue raised before the arbitrator on the proof of conviction — Was the Court of Appeal for Ontario correct in holding that the role the party seeking to relitigate played in the initial proceedings is of paramount importance in determining whether fairness dictates that relitigation be permitted? — Was the Court of Appeal for Ontario correct in holding that a privately appointed arbitrator is in a better position to determine an individual’s insurance status than the Ontario Court of Justice, the court tasked with convicting or acquitting individuals charged with the offence of operating a motor vehicle without insurance? — Evidence Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.23, s. 22.1.

Pursuant to the regulation under the Insurance Act R.S.O. 1990, c. I.8., the applicant, Intact Insurance Company, entered into an agreement with the respondent, Federated Insurance Company of Canada, to arbitrate a dispute related to the payment of statutory accident benefits. The applicant cancelled the policy of the driver involved in a road accident five days before the event for non-payment of premiums. It appears that the driver was convicted of a criminal offence under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.25, for operating his motor vehicle on a highway without insurance. The applicant contends that the responsibility to pay the statutory accident benefits falls on the respondent which insured the other vehicle involved in the accident. As a result, the applicant raised by way of preliminary hearing before the arbitrator, the issue of the abuse of process doctrine to prevent the respondent from adducing evidence contrary to the essential facts underlying the conviction. In his decision, the arbitrator found that the doctrine does not apply and, in the alternative, it falls within the fairness exception as set out by the Court in Toronto (City) v. C.U.P.E., Local 79, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 77. The applicant appealed the arbitrator’s decision by way of an application to the Superior Court of Justice.

Date modified:

2016-05-02

                         
Ont. C.A. finds no abuse of process in re-litigating in SABS priority dispute whether claimant vehicle was insured

 

Feb. 4, 2017

Posted in Accident Benefits

Authors Bevin Shores and Michael S. Teitelbaum

Related Lawyers Bevin Shores and Greg Bailey

Hearty Congratulations and a tip of the advocacy chapeau to our very own Greg Bailey and Bevin Shores on their successful efforts before the Ontario Court of Appeal in Intact Insurance Company v. Federated Insurance Company of Canada!

The Court's 23-page reasons deal with a SABS priority dispute where the question was whether re-litigating the issue of whether the claimant's vehicle was insured was an abuse of process.

Many thanks to Bevin for preparing the following note about the decision:

Intact v Federated arose from a priority dispute between insurers. It was not in dispute that if Intact had validly cancelled the policy insuring the owner/operator of the claimant vehicle (Cadieux), priority would rest with Federated; and if Intact had not, priority would rest with Intact. As Justice Doherty observed at para 9, “it is sufficient to say that the evidence raised legitimate questions about Intact’s notification to Mr. Cadieux of the policy cancellation.” Cadieux, however, was convicted of operating a vehicle without insurance contrary to s 2(1) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. Intact sought to rely on this conviction as proof that Cadieux was not insured by Intact at the time of the accident, and that priority therefore rested with Federated.

At the preliminary issue hearing before Arbitrator Kenneth Bialkowski, Intact took the position that it is an abuse of process to re-litigate the CAIA conviction and that Federated is barred by s 22.1 of the Evidence Act from leading evidence that Cadieux was insured at the time of the accident.

For reference, because it plays centrally in this decision, s 22.1 of the Evidence Act provides:

Proof of conviction or discharge

22.1  (1)  Proof that a person has been convicted or discharged anywhere in Canada of a crime is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the crime was committed by the person, if,

(a) no appeal of the conviction or discharge was taken and the time for an appeal has expired; or

(b) an appeal of the conviction or discharge was taken but was dismissed or abandoned and no further appeal is available.

At the preliminary issue hearing, Arbitrator Bialkowski disagreed with Intact, and concluded that Federated may lead evidence contrary to the conviction.

Intact appealed by bringing an application in Superior Court before Justice James Diamond. Justice Diamond allowed the appeal, finding that Federated had failed to lead any “evidence to the contrary” and that Arbitrator Bialkowski had erred in law in refusing to apply the abuse of process doctrine to prevent Federated from leading evidence that the claimant vehicle was insured at the time of the accident.  

Federated appealed to the Court of Appeal after having been granted leave. Justice Doherty, writing for the Court, allowed the appeal. The main points are as follows:

  • The Court clarified the interaction between s 22.1 of the Evidence Act and the abuse of process doctrine, and in particular, that they are two distinct concepts. Justice Doherty explained at para 21: “The operation of s. 22.1 and the abuse of process doctrine intersect at the phrase “evidence to the contrary” in s. 22.1.  A party may lead ‘evidence to the contrary’ to avoid the evidentiary rule established in s. 22.1.  The abuse of process doctrine operates to foreclose a party from leading that ‘evidence to the contrary’ when to do so would constitute an abuse of the court’s process”. The application judge had confused the operation of s 22.1 of the Evidence Act and the abuse of process doctrine, thus erring in law (paras 25-26).

      

  • There is no “closed list” of the circumstances in which re-litigation may be warranted (para 28). “The court, in considering the various factors, must balance the damage done by re-litigation to systemic interests, including finality and consistency of result, against fairness to the litigant seeking to re-litigate a previously determined finding” (para 30).

     

  • The onus is on a party “seeking to re-litigate” to show that re-litigation would not constitute an abuse of process (para 50).

     

  • Section 22.1 of the Evidence Act applies to provincial regulatory offences as well as convictions for criminal offences (para 18). While this point was elucidated in Andreadis v Pinto (2009), 98 OR (3d) 701 (SCJ) and has been generally accepted, it appears not to have been previously considered at the appellate level.

In the result, the Court concluded that fairness dictated that Federated should have an opportunity to demonstrate that Intact’s insured was insured at the time of the accident, and that re-litigation of the insurance status in the context of a private arbitration has no negative impact on the integrity of the overall adjudicative process and may in fact enhance that integrity by generating a more reliable result. Federated had therefore satisfied its onus to show that re-litigation would not constitute an abuse of process.

 

Keywords

  • practice and procedure
  • abuse of process
  • re-litigation
  • priority dispute
  • SABS

Related Team

Bevan Shores

Bevin Shores

Email me

P: (905) 577-4050 ext 595 (905) 577-4050 ext 595

Hamilton (877) 858-8234 (877) 858-8234

Read Bio

Greg Bailey

Greg Bailey

Email me

P: (905) 577-4050 ext 544 (905) 577-4050 ext 544

Hamilton (877) 858-8234 (877) 858-8234

Read Bio

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