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Further Case on Partial Summary Judgment

In a recent post, we discussed the case of Farooqi v. Lorenzo. The court would not schedule a summary judgment motion as requested by a defendant driver because, if summary judgment was granted, the claim would still continue against other defendants.

However, in a decision released today, Extreme Venture Partners Fund LLP v. Varma, the Court of Appeal examined a decision in which summary judgment was granted dismissing an action against one defendant in a case involving multiple defendants.

The Court of Appeal stated “this was not a partial summary judgment as the claim against the respondent [defendant] was dismissed in its entirety.”

Despite the apparent breadth of this statement, the Court of Appeal added that summary judgment can be granted to one defendant if there is a discrete legal issue pertinent only to the liability of that defendant.

Therefore, it remains that granting summary judgment to one defendant may not be appropriate if there is a risk of inconsistent findings of fact.

On the other hand, as stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin, the resolution of an important claim against a key party could significantly advance access to justice, and be the most proportionate, timely and cost-effective approach.

Each case must be examined on its own facts.