Focus On

JURISDICTION - Submission to - Implied submission

Friday, February 22, 2019 @ 2:05 PM  


Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by Barer from a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Quebec affirming a decision of the Superior Court which concluded a Utah court had jurisdiction over claims for fraudulent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment made by a Utah-based company and declared its judgement enforceable. Barer, a Quebec resident, was sued personally together with two companies he allegedly controlled by Knight Brothers LLC (Knight) before the United States District Court, Central Division for the District of Utah (Utah Court). Barer presented preliminary arguments in a motion to dismiss but a default judgment was eventually rendered against all three defendants. Knight then sought to have that decision recognized in Quebec and declared enforceable against Barer. The Superior Court concluded that Barer had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Utah Court in accordance with art. 3168(6) of the Civil Code of Québec (C.C.Q.) by raising substantive arguments in his motion to dismiss. The judge ruled in Knight’s favor and ordered Barer to pay. The Court of Appeal dismissed Barer’s appeal.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The jurisdiction of the Utah Court was recognized. Knight’s action was a personal action of a patrimonial nature. Rules establishing the circumstances in which Quebec courts recognized foreign jurisdiction served to determine whether it was appropriate to integrate specific decisions rendered outside Quebec into the province’s legal system. Article 3168 C.C.Q. listed six situations where Quebec courts found that a foreign authority had indirect international jurisdiction. The indirect international jurisdiction requirements imposed by the C.C.Q. for the recognition of a foreign authority’s jurisdiction over a matter were not satisfied simply because the opposing party failed to prove lack of jurisdiction. The party who sought recognition of a foreign decision thus bore the burden of proving the facts upon which the foreign authority’s indirect international jurisdiction was based. The fact that the Utah decision was a default judgment was not a reason to refrain from recognizing and enforcing it in Quebec. Foreign default judgments could be recognized in Quebec on the same footing as other decisions. Barer submitted to the Utah Court’s jurisdiction in accordance with art. 3168(6) C.C.Q. by presenting substantive arguments in his motion to dismiss that, if accepted, would have resolved all or part of the dispute. This sufficed to justify recognizing and enforcing the Utah decision against him in Quebec. Given that the dispute had a substantial connection with Utah in light of Barer’s submission to the jurisdiction, art. 3164 C.C.Q. did not bar the recognition of the Utah Court’s default judgment rendered against him.

Barer v. Knight Brothers LLC, [2019] S.C.J. No. 13, Supreme Court of Canada, R. Wagner C.J. and R.S. Abella, M.J. Moldaver, A. Karakatsanis, C. Gascon, S. Côté, R. Brown, M. Rowe and S.L. Martin JJ., February 22, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February182019011-SCC