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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Summary judgments - Procedure

Monday, February 22, 2021 @ 9:18 AM  

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Appeal by the plaintiff from summary judgment dismissing the action. The appellant was a gas and oil exploration company. After paying losses from a 2011 pipeline spill, the appellant’s pollution liability insurers commenced this action against the respondents in 2013. In 2016, the appellant obtained Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act protection and sold all its assets to Ridgeback Resources. The current action was specifically listed as an asset included in the sale. The court then granted an approval and vesting order. The summary judgment application brought by third-party defendant on the basis that the appellant was no longer an existing corporation after it was struck from the registry was granted on the ground that since the lawsuit was a purchased asset, there was no merit in this action continuing in the name of the appellant. The appellant argued the applicant did not comply with the Rules as he failed to provide the grounds upon which the summary judgment application was based or to specify any irregularities complained of. 

HELD: Appeal allowed. The summary judgment application, as argued before the case management judge, was very different than the one that formed the basis for the application itself. This was a fatal procedural flaw and warranted vacating the summary dismissal order. Ridgeback was also not served with notice of the summary dismissal application, notwithstanding that counsel for the applicant had argued that Ridgeback was the owner of the action. Ridgeback as putative owner of the within action should have been formally served with notice of the application seeking dismissal of its action.

PetroBakken Energy Ltd. v. Northridge Energy Development Group Inc. [2020] A.J. No. 1427, Alberta Court of Appeal, F.F. Slatter, J.D.B. McDonald and J. Antonio JJ.A., December 18, 2020. Digest No. TLD-February222021001