Federal Appeal


Civil Procedure

Settlement
Plaintiff’s acceptance of defendants’ offer was unconditional

Plaintiff sued defendants with respect to trademark issues arising from use of word Pinnacle in connection with sale of alcoholic beverages. Defendants made offer to settle pursuant to which claim and counterclaim in Federal Court action would be discontinued with each party to bear its own costs. Offer was accepted but dispute arose as to whether offer also included discontinuance of Superior Court action. Each party brought motion seeking to have its position ratified. Federal Court judge concluded that there was settlement of Federal Court action and counterclaim but that Superior Court action was not settled. Permanent stay of proceedings was ordered with respect to defendants’ counterclaim. Defendants appealed. Appeal dismissed. Federal Court judge did not make any error that could justify intervention. Arguments resting on notion that defendants intended to make offer to settle which included Superior Court action could not succeed. Words of offer to settle were unambiguous while evidence of surrounding circumstances including operation of R. 420 of Federal Courts Rules (Can.), did not support defendants’ position. Defendants’ settlement offer was intended to satisfy conditions of R. 420 and as result it dealt only with Federal Court action. Plaintiff’s acceptance of defendants’ offer was unconditional.

Beam Suntory Inc. v. Domaines Pinnacle Inc. (Aug. 31, 2016, F.C.A., J.D. Denis Pelletier J.A., Johanne Gauthier J.A., and A.F. Scott J.A., A-272-15) Decision at 254 A.C.W.S. (3d) 802 was affirmed. 269 A.C.W.S. (3d) 662.

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