On May 14, 2019, in Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corp. v. DBDC Spadina Ltd., 2019 SCC 30 the Supreme Court of Canada granted Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corporation’s appeal and unanimously adopted Justice van Rensburg’s dissenting reasons as their own. In reversing the earlier decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court has provided guidance on when a party will be found to have participated in a breach of trust.
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Lawyers must act with care and uphold their professional obligations when making referrals. The Supreme Court of Canada recently addressed the professional liability of a lawyer who advised his client to purchase specific offshore investments from an advisor where that advisor turned out to be a fraudster. In Salomon v Matte‑Thompson, 2019 SCC 14, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal holding the lawyer liable for his client’s investment losses.
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Surprisingly, evidently not. Briefly the facts in Plate v. Atlas Copco Canada Inc., 2019 ONCA 196: an Executive in the role of Vice President Global Strategic Customers was terminated for just cause grounded in a decades-long defrauding of the company and its benefits provider in conspiracy with the latter’s consultant, to the extent of over $20,000,000, over a million of which resulted to the Executive personally. His argument that he was a bystander incidentally enriched to the knowledge of the employer failed, conviction entered, no appeal pursued.
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Summary judgment of an action may only be granted when there is no genuine issue requiring a trial and this can be difficult to prove in fraud cases where credibility is often an important factor. In the recent Ontario Superior Court decision in MacNamara v. 2087850 Ontario Ltd. (Strathcona Construction), 2017 ONSC 499, Justice Akbarali granted summary judgment finding both fraud and grounds to pierce the corporate veil of a corporate defendant. This case demonstrates how liability for even the most serious causes of action can be established by way of summary judgment where a full evidentiary record allows the Court to find the necessary facts, apply the law, and determine that there is no genuine issue for trial.
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Recently Canadian singer Alanis Morissette became the latest well-publicized victim of fraud at the hands of one she employed and trusted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/36316327. She joins a long list of celebrities who have suffered fraud at the hands of those employed to trust, amongst them the Beatles, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Elvis, the Rolling Stones.
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According to Statistics Canada, 84% of Canadians aged 15 and over, or just under 24 million people, reported making at least one financial donation to a charitable or non-profit organization when the last survey on gift giving was conducted in 2010. With over $10 billion in yearly donations, it is unsurprising that there are those that seek to take advantage of Canadians’ spirit of giving. In a recent sentencing decision, R v Raza, 2016 BCSC 1030, the British Columbia Supreme Court sentenced two brothers, Fareed Raza and Saheem Raza, to over four (4) years for their roles in orchestrating a charitable donation scheme.
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Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent arrangements that operate on a large scale often involve complex networks of activities, actors, and funds transfers. Given the number of players that may be required to bring about such a scheme, the tort of civil conspiracy provides a potential means for recovery for fraud victims.

The elements of civil conspiracy: Simple motive or unlawful means?

As outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada’ decision in Canada Cement LaFarge Ltd. v. British Columbia Lightweight Aggregate Ltd. civil conspiracy in Canada is comprised of two related but distinct categories.  The first category is the “lawful means” or “simple motive” conspiracy, and the second is the “unlawful means” or “unlawful conduct” conspiracy.
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The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in Condon v. The Queen, 2015 FCA 159 (“Condon“), released July 6, 2015, has significant implications for organizations that have experienced large scale data breaches. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision by the Federal Court to certify a class action lawsuit based on the recently developed tort of intrusion upon seclusion (i.e. breach of privacy) and breach of contract and warranty. However, the Federal Court of Appeal also expanded the certification to include claims of negligence and breach of confidence. The lower court had found the failure to allege specific damages arising from the data breach to be fatal to the negligence and breach of confidence claims, but the Federal Court of Appeal reversed the lower court on this point.
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