Date: 2014-01-29. Docket: 12-CV-4533236. Perell, J. | Link
Motion to amend the second fresh as amended consolidated statement of claim and motion to approve a discovery plan. Plaintiffs commenced a class action against defendant for alleged misrepresentations that affected the market value of the shares of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. The plaintiffs seek to amend their statement of claim to include (1) particulars of bribery of public officials in various jurisdictions; (2) the actionable misrepresentations by omitting this information from the management’s discussion and analysis and annual information forms; and (3) add additional corrective disclosures that resulted in declines in the market price of SNC’s securities. The plaintiffs also seek to amend their reply to allege that the briberies disentitle the defendants to rely on the reasonable investigation defence. Except for the additional corrective disclosures, the motion to amend the second fresh as amended statement of claim was dismissed. The Discovery Plan had been negotiated for almost a year and a half. SNC had already reviewed over 800,000 electronic records and produced over 24,000 documents from over 40 different custodians during the Class Period. Justice Perell found that the Discovery Plan issues should be resolved using “the proportionality principle, in a common sense way” and noted that a discovery plan is not meant to “take over the work that is more productively and efficiently done at the examination for discovery.” With respect to the contested date parameters for document production, Justice Perell decided to employ the Class Period for the provisional and unsworn affidavit of documents, but “leave it to the parties to pursue whether there are additional documents as part of the preparation for and attendance at the examination for discovery.” He also found that additional key words and custodians are neither reasonable nor proportionate. Further searches will depend on informal requests by the parties before the examinations begin and proper questions being asked at the examinations for discovery. Justice Perell also found that it would be unreasonable to compel searches to be done by all of SNC’s 300 subsidiaries. Additionally, he found it would be reasonable and proportionate for SNC to preserve only the finance and internal audit shared drives (as opposed to preserving all of the shared spaces that were accessed by the custodians on the 1,200 computer servers).