NEW - Hryniak v. Mauldin,,/em> [2014] 1 SCR 87, 2014 SCC 7 (CanLII).

  • January 23, 2014

Date: 2014-01-23. Docket: 34641. | Link

A group of investors gave Tropos Capital Inc. US$1.2 million for an investment opportunity. Robert Hryniak was the principal of the company Tropos. Gregory Peebles was a lawyer for Cassels Brock & Blackwell and acted for Hryniak and Tropos. A few months later, Tropos put over US$10 million into an offshore account and the money disappeared. Hryniak claims that he had a legitimate trading program and that Tropos’ funds were stolen. The investors brought an action for fraud and a motion for summary judgement. The motions judge weighed the evidence and concluded that a trial was not required against Hryniak. However, he dismissed the motions against Peebles and Cassels Brock, as those claims required a trial. The Court of Appeal upheld the motion judge’s finding that Hryniak had committed civil fraud. The issue of whether summary judgement should have been granted was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court discussed the role of proportionality in the civil trial system: “[t]he proportionality principle means that the best forum for resolving a dispute is not always that with the most painstaking procedure. [...] [E]ven slow and expensive procedures can be proportionate when they are the fastest and most efficient alternative.  The question is whether the added expense and delay of fact finding at trial is necessary to a fair process and just adjudication”. In this case, the motion judge found no credible evidence to support Hryniak’s claim that he was a legitimate trader and therefore concluded there was no issue requiring a trial. The Court found that the motion judge did not err in granting summary judgement, and Hryniak’s appeal was therefore dismissed.