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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Parties - Vexatious litigants

Friday, October 18, 2019 @ 8:55 AM  

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Determination of the scope of ongoing court access restrictions to be imposed on Ubah. In February 2019, the Court received correspondence from counsel for Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) and Laut, defendants in Action 1801 17978, which alleged that Ubah’s statement of claim was an Apparently Vexatious Application or Proceeding. That correspondence enclosed court documents that established that Action 1801 17978 had the same subject matter as several prior lawsuits by Ubah in the Provincial Court of Alberta. Subsequently, counsel for the defendant Yukes alleged the same. Action 1801 17978, which appeared to be an abusive proceeding, was later struck out and it was determined that interim court access restrictions were appropriate. Ubah claimed that all his litigation was legitimate and that his being subject to interim court access restrictions was illegal and improper. He launched a collateral attack on Action 1801 17978 and attempted to re-open several stayed Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench appeals. Ubah’s conduct had escalated and involved subjects ranging from alleged employee contract disputes to child guardianship issues and immigration proceedings. Increasingly stringent interim steps aimed at managing Ubah’s activities had no effect. CNRL and Laut took the position that Ubah should be subject to court access restrictions that required, among other things, leave of the Court to initiate or continue litigation against CNRL and its employees, and representation of Ubah by a lawyer in any future litigation. Yukes sought parallel remedies to those sought by CRNL and Laut.

HELD: Ubah was a vexatious litigant and was made subject to indefinite, strict, and global court access restrictions. Ubah’s court activities clearly established a highly problematic litigation pattern. He engaged in incessant re-litigation when he was unsuccessful in court. His actions and applications were frequently based on nothing but bald allegations. It was particularly concerning that it appeared that he was playing different courts and agencies off against each other. Ubah was already subject to court access restrictions in his Provincial Court matters. That was a strong basis to conclude that parallel steps were appropriate for the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. Ubah’s consistent refusal to acknowledge res judicata and to respect the orders of the courts was also a very strong basis on which to impose court access restrictions. Ubah was completely ungovernable and he actively attempted to evade management of his litigation. He was abusive, argumentative, and physically intrusive. Ubah was made subject to strict and global court access restrictions in all three Alberta courts. His conduct and intentions warranted the unusual additional step that he was required to retain counsel to interact with the courts.

Ubah v. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., [2019] A.J. No. 1188, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, J.D. Rooke A.C.J., September 6, 2019. Digest No. TLD-October142019012