In its recently released decision of OZ Merchandising Inc. v. Canadian Professional Soccer League Inc., 2021 ONCA 520 the Court of Appeal dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal of the decision of the Trial Judge following a 9 week trial. The plaintiff had brought claims of negligence and intentional interference with its economic interests against each the Ontario Soccer Association, Canadian Soccer Association and the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association.
At the end of the day, the decisions were based primarily on the lack of evidence to support the claims. This was borne out in both the trial and appeal decisions. However, on the appeal the Court was required to deal with numerous legal issues. Most notably, the plaintiff appealed on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, despite the fact that trial counsel was co-counsel on the appeal itself. In any event, the Court confirmed that the allegation of incompetent counsel should not be visited on the opposing party in civil matters except in cases in which the nature of the claim gives rise to a public interest that transcends the private interest of the litigants.
The plaintiff also appealed on the grounds of judicial bias. The Court of Appeal was clear in reaffirming the strong presumption in favour of judicial impartiality. In addition, the plaintiff appealed the costs award that was made personally against a non-party. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the Trial Judge has inherent jurisdiction to award costs against a non-party in circumstances where the conduct of the non-party was determined to be egregious and worthy of the Court’s sanction.
For further comment on this decision you can visit the Law Times.
Congratulations to Andrew and his co-counsel for their hard work and success at both trial and the appeal!