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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Disposition without trial - Dismissal of action - Frivolous, vexatious or abuse of process

Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 8:36 AM  

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Appeal by Sangha from a Court of Queen’s Bench appeal judge’s order that the appellant’s claim be struck and a costs order of $500 each to Calgary and Alberta. The appellant had filed a civil action to the effect that had there been an operational dash camera in the police vehicle that stopped him for a traffic violation, the case against him would not have been a credibility contest but instead a determination based on objective evidence, namely video footage. The appellant had named various municipal and provincial entities that had a role in policing, including the City of Calgary and Province of Alberta, contending they failed to equip police vehicles with dash cameras and enforce their use which constituted negligence and a breach of obligations. The appellant sought a declaration pursuant to s. 15 of the Charter and claimed damages for reimbursement for his ticket, increase in his insurance premiums and cost of installing a camera on his dash. Alberta and Calgary both applied to strike the action. A master struck the action and ordered costs in Calgary and Alberta’s favour. The appellant appealed. The Court of Queen’s Bench appeal judge agreed with the master. On this appeal, the appellant argued the appeal judge erred by finding his claim was an abuse of process, holding there was no cause of action against Calgary or Alberta and failing to overturn the costs award. The sole issue on appeal was whether the appellant’s action was a collateral attack on his traffic conviction.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. If the appellant had wished to claim that his rights were violated, he should have done so before the traffic commissioner and on an appeal of that decision, rather than in a subsequent civil action. The appellant’s action had to be struck as an abuse of process, as had been done by the master in her clear and concise decision.

Sangha v. Alberta, [2018] A.J. No. 83, Alberta Court of Appeal, R.L. Berger, B.L. Veldhuis and J. Strekaf JJ.A., January 26, 2018. Digest No. TLD-Feb122018002