Focus On

BARRISTERS AND SOLICITORS - Duties to the profession - Liability - Real estate transactions

Thursday, October 01, 2020 @ 6:13 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Motion by three defendant lawyers to dismiss the claim against them. The action arose from a failed real estate transaction. In 2016, the plaintiff signed an agreement of purchase and sale to purchase property. It then assigned its rights under the agreement to Saeed. The vendors failed to close the transaction. They subsequently sold the property to other buyers. The plaintiff was represented by counsel throughout the transaction. The plaintiff commenced the within action in 2019 against the parties to the transaction as well as Reiter-Nemetz, counsel for the vendors, Navaratnam, counsel for Saeed in the transaction, and Lachmansingh, counsel for Saeed in her 2016 litigation against the vendors for specific performance.

HELD: Motion allowed. None of the limited circumstances in which a lawyer might owe a duty to a non-client or opposing party were applicable. There was insufficient proximity between the defendant lawyers and the plaintiff for a duty of care to arise. There was no reasonable reliance by the plaintiff on the defendant lawyers or any reasonable foreseeability that such would arise, given the plaintiff had its own counsel in the transaction. The allegation Lachmansingh made a false statement in the written pleadings in Saeed’s litigation was a violation of the doctrine of absolute immunity. The action was an abuse of process. The claim was also statute-barred.

9383859 Canada Ltd. v. Saeed, [2020] O.J. No. 3547, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, C.J. Brown J., August 17, 2020. Digest No. TLD-September282020008