In Raleigh c. Maibec inc., 2016 QCCS 2533, Justice Soldevila refused to
authorize a "copycat" class action on behalf of consumers
who had purchased wood siding and shingles manufactured by Maibec
inc. ("Maibec"), a Quebec company.
The Petitioners were Helen and Steven Raleigh, both American
citizens, and Roger Hamel who resides in Quebec. The Petitioners
alleged that the wood sidings manufactured by Maibec prematurely
deteriorated, that Maibec misrepresented the durability and quality
of its products, and that Maibec refused to honour its warranty.
The Petitioners alleged breaches of the Quebec Code of Civil
Procedure ("CCP"), and the Quebec Consumer
In her reasons, Justice Soldevila noted that the proposed class
action was a "copycat" of another class action commenced
in the United States in 2011, and that the Petitioners had put
forth a very minimal effort to present their motion.
Justice Soldevila held that the proposed class action could not
be authorized on multiple grounds, including the following:
The Petitioners did not present any facts that
detailed why the product was deficient, what the common
manufacturing defect was amongst all of the different products, or
how long these defects had existed. Concerning the alleged
misrepresentation about the warranty, the Court found that the
Petitioners did not even choose the product that was to be used as
siding for their houses.
The class composition was much too large as it was not limited
territorially or temporally: it covered all of Canada as well as
the United States, and included all of the products manufactured
during the 70 years since Maibec has been in operation.
The Petitioners failed to present proof of similarities in the
relevant legislation applicable in the multiple jurisdictions, such
as legislation regarding civil liability, prescription and consumer
protection. In other words, the Court held that the Petitioners
were attempting to bite off more than they could chew in one class
The Petitioners were not suitable representatives for the class
since the Raleighs replaced the alleged defective siding of their
house with the exact same siding, and Mr. Hamel refused to implead
his contractor due to personal reasons.
Justice Soldevila concluded that the facts alleged were so
minimal and imprecise that she was unable to conclude that the four
criteria for authorization were met. She concluded her judgment by
saying that if the Petitioners believed they were betting on the
fastest horse by filing an authorization motion in Quebec, they
should have at least chosen a horse that knew where to go...
This decision supports the contention that Petitioners should
think twice before copying class actions in other jurisdictions,
especially if they do so in an attempt to "forum-shop"
for the quickest route to certification/authorization. Courts will
be paying close attention to the effort and work put in by the
Petitioners to present a workable class action that meets the
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.
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