Although historically the only real battle ground in B.C. class
actions was certification, the new reality is more complicated.
There continue to be some cases in which pre-certification
issues are a battle ground, including, for example, where
defendants seek a stay based on jurisdiction or apply to have
pleadings struck. The state of the law is now that certification is
to be the first procedural hearing except where a motion is
time-sensitive, would benefit the parties, furthers the objective
of judicial efficiency or has the potential to dispose of the
litigation (Tucci v. Peoples Trust, 2015 BCSC 987). Even on this test, however,
some pre-certification motions are heard in 2015. One example is
Harrison v. Afexa Life Sciences Inc., 2015 BCSC 638, in which a plaintiff was
ordered to provide particulars for several cause of action and the
plaintiff's pleading in relation to the Food and Drugs Act was
The standard to certify a B.C. case as a class action remains
low, but defendants successfully opposed certification either at
the Supreme Court or on Appeal in numerous cases in 2015 –
indeed, there were more defence wins on contested certification
applications than plaintiff wins. The refusals to certify included
a municipality's warrantless searches of properties
required individual assessments (Monaco v. City of
Coquitlam, 2015 BCSC 2421);
allegations that vehicular damage was concealed in order to
improperly charge renters for repairs involved fact-specific
assessments not preferable addressed through a class proceeding
(Vaugeois v. Budget, 2015 BCSC 802);
the patent regulatory is a complete code foreclosing civil
actions by consumers based on the Patent Act (Low v. Pfizer
Canada Inc., 2015 BCCA 506); and
evidence of a methodology to address risk of harm to all class
members was adduced (Charlton v. Abbott Laboratories Ltd.,
2015 BCCA 26).
Finally, class action trials are proceeding in B.C., primarily
in the form of summary trials. The literature reports that, as of
2014, there had been 8 class action common issues trial decisions
in B.C., three going to the plaintiff and five to the defendant
(Foreman & Meisenheimer, "The Evolution of the Class
Action Trial in Ontario" 4:2 (2014) Western J of Legal
Studies, Art. 3 at 5). 2015 brought three more decisions, at trial
or on appeal from trial, in all of which plaintiffs were at least
partially successful. It is expected that the number of trial
decisions will continue to increase in the short and long
The development of additional battlegrounds is positive,
offering litigants additional strategic options and contributing to
more robust case law.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).