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Civil Code of Quebec

Civil Code of Quebec Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

University can recoup pension monies

Carleton University won the right to reclaim nearly $500,000 in pension benefits made to a former political science professor who was missing for years before his remains were found in the woods near his Quebec home after the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the pension plan plainly states that the benefits ceased when the beneficiary died.

The ruling, which essentially upheld a lower court ruling but not for the same reasons, appears to have broadened the scope of several Civil Code of Quebec provisions by applying a “generous and liberal interpretation” to unjust enrichment and the legal presumption surrounding absentees, according to legal experts.

Why it matters: “The decision has broadened the understanding of how payments of undue amounts works,” noted Montreal pension lawyer Tina Hobday of Langlois Lawyers LLP.…

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Business Civil Code of Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

Appeal court overturns $5.6 million award

A lower court ruling that awarded $5.6 million to a vessel fleet operator was overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal after it held that the trial judge erred by applying the Civil Code of Quebec to settle a dispute instead of Canadian maritime law.

In a majority decision, the appeal court held that disputes concerning the repair and supply of engine parts to a ship is subject to Canadian maritime law, and therefore common law rules apply rather than civil law rules of delictual liability. As Canadian maritime law applies, the appeal court reaffirms it is the common law of contract and tort that applies to these cases.

The ruling, met with a sigh of relief by the maritime business world, dispels confusion and uncertainty engendered by the lower court ruling as it reaffirms that Canadian maritime law applies uniformly across Canada and “ousts” the application of provincial law, according to maritime lawyers.…

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Charter of Rights and Freedoms Civil Code of Quebec Quebec Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Quebec court rules that religious marriages do not necessarily carry any legal obligations

A controversial Quebec Superior Court decision that ruled that religious marriages do not necessarily carry any legal obligations under civil law may have alarming and sweeping consequences, according to family law experts.

The “disturbing” ruling creates a new category of civil status in Quebec, undermines long-held views of religious marriages, and will possibly expose women to vulnerable situations where they will be pressured into celebrating a religious marriage without the protection afforded by civil law, cautioned family lawyers.…

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Civil Code of Quebec Class actions Quebec Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

Tobacco companies do not have to pay initial $1.13 billion in tobacco class action suit

Three Canadian tobacco companies will not have to make an immediate $1.13 billion payment to Quebec smokers who won a landmark class action suit after the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the justification for the provisional execution is weak, the prejudice to the firms serious, and that the balance of convenience weighs in their favour.

An initial payment of $1.13 billion was due this weekend after Quebec Superior Justice Brian Riordan held in Létourneau c. JTI-MacDonald Corp., 2015 QCCS 2382 that it was “high time that the companies started to pay for their sins” and “high time” for the plaintiffs and their lawyers to receive some relief from the “gargantuan” financial burden of bringing the tobacco companies to justice.

But the three-judge appeal court panel found that the existence of those “sins” is sub judice, or under judicial consideration, by the Court of Appeal, and therefore this “weakness in the order behooves our intervention.”…

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Business Civil Code of Quebec Legal Practice Management Quebec Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Confidentiality breach proves expensive for federal government

The federal government and two employees who worked for an Employee Assistance Program were ordered to pay nearly $175,000 for breaching the rights of an employee who sought their assistance in a case that underlines the importance for employers and personnel to safeguard confidential information.

“Employers must draw lessons from this ruling on how to deal with confidential and private information of employees,” said Sébastien Lorquet, a labour and employment lawyer with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. “They must understand that if confidential and private information is disclosed and that it causes harm to an employee, then employers and employees at fault can be held liable for damages incurred by the employee who suffered harm.”…

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Business Civil Code of Quebec Employment & Labour Law Quebec Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Employers have duties towards employees working abroad

An electrician who launched a $190,000 suit against the scandal-plagued engineering firm SNC-Lavalin for failing to “rapidly and efficiently” evacuate him from Libya while the African nation was in the midst of a civil war lost his court battle after Quebec Superior Court held that the “troubles and inconvenience” he suffered were due to the “insurrection” in the country.

In a ruling that sheds light on the responsibilities employers have towards employees who work abroad, Justice Louis Lacoursière held that while article 51 of the Quebec Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (Act) does not apply beyond the borders of Quebec, employers are nevertheless bound under article 2087 of the Civil Code of Québec to take “any measures” to protect the health, safety, and dignity of employees even if they work out of the country.…

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Civil Code of Quebec Class actions Quebec Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms Rulings

Quebec court authorizes privacy class action against Apple

A privacy class action suit launched by a software engineer against Apple Inc. and Apple Canada Inc. was granted authorization by Quebec Superior Court late last month.

Gad Albilia alleges that Canadian residents who purchased an iPhone or iPad and who downloaded free software applications from the Apple’s virtual App store onto their devices have had their privacy rights infringed. He claims that personal identifiable information was collected through the apps and was transmitted, without the knowledge or permission of class members, to third-parties for purposes “wholly unrelated to the use and functionality of their iDevices or the apps.”…

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Access to justice Civil Code of Quebec Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

Appeal court provides guidance on contempt of court

he use of contempt of court in civil proceedings will likely diminish over time as judges begin to exercise discretionary powers to redress abuse of process under legislation originally designed to thwart SLAPPs, or strategic lawsuits against public participation, observed the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Contempt of court, an exceptional remedy given its quasi-criminal character and potentially grave sanctions, should be used sparingly and as a “last resort,” particularly since more suitable civil sanctions exist such as running the risk of losing the case on the grounds of abuse of process, dismissal of claims, the striking of allegations to institute proceedings, or even the possible forfeiture of funds held in deposit, advised the appeal court in a 24-page ruling.…

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Civil Code of Quebec Public inquiries Quebec

Witnesses testifying in public inquiries NOT necessarily protected

The lead counsel of a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption in Quebec’s construction industry inadvertently found himself in the spotlight over a thorny legal question surrounding the immunity of witnesses who testify before the inquiry.

Sylvain Lussier, lead Commission counsel of the Charbonneau Commission, said that the sworn testimony of witnesses who testify during commissions of inquiry cannot be used against them in criminal proceedings. But the same may not hold true for civil proceedings.

He then backtracked after his team ostensibly examined the jurisprudence, and asserted that witnesses are protected from civil suits.

Except that Lussier said nothing new.…

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Accounting Business Civil Code of Quebec Class actions Quebec Quebec Superior Court Rulings White-collar crimes

Class action authorized against three accounting firms in Mount Real financial scandal

Nearly six years after 1,600 investors were bilked, left holding an estimated $130-million of worthless promissory notes when Montreal financial group Mount Real Corp. was shut down by the Quebec securities regulator, a Quebec judge authorized a class action against two former executives, two financial service companies and three accounting firms.

In a ruling that appears to have lowered the bar for class action certification against accounting firms, Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-François Buffoni held that the representative plaintiff demonstrated that the allegations she is trying to establish between the fault allegedly committed by the accounting firms and the harm suffered by the class does not “appear to be frivolous nor manifestly unfounded” and stands a reasonable chance of succeeding, even though the representative plaintiff admitted that she did not rely on the audited financial statements to make an investment decision.…

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