Material factual assertions were inconsistent with judicial determinations in prior proceedings

Civil Practice and Procedure – Disposition without trial – Stay or dismissal of action

In his statement of claim, Canadian taxpayer plaintiff alleged wrongdoing in manner in which he was treated by defendants relative to assessments for income tax and GST under Income Tax Act and Excise Tax Act and sued for damages and ancillary relief. Defendants brought successful motion to strike out his statement of claim without leave to amend on grounds that it was scandalous, frivolous or vexatious and was abuse of process within meaning of R. 221 of Federal Court Rules. Plaintiff’s appeal from order of Prothonotary was dismissed. In his order, Prothonotary reviewed history of litigation undertaken by plaintiff before Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Tax Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. Proceedings in Ontario Courts were related to conviction of plaintiff upon charges of filing false and misleading tax returns and proceedings before Tax Court and on appeal to Federal Court of Appeal related to assessments for payment of GST. Plaintiff appealed. Appeal dismissed. Difficulty plaintiff was not able to overcome before Prothonotary and Federal Court judge was that his statement of claim was collateral attack on final and conclusive court judgments that he was guilty of offence under s. 239 of Income Tax Act and that confirmed assessment of his liability for income tax and GST. Plaintiff’s attempt to relitigate questions by seeking damages and other relief engaged rule against collateral attack and doctrine of abuse of process. Reading of plaintiff’s lengthy statement of claim disclosed that all material factual assertions were either inconsistent on their face with judicial determinations in prior proceedings involving plaintiff or were conclusory statements which cannot be proven except by invoking those inconsistent facts. Determination that pleading should be struck pursuant to R. 221 was discretionary decision reviewable on appellate standard. Neither Prothonotary nor Federal Court judge fell into palpable and overriding error in dismissing claim.

Lee v. Canada (2020), 2020 CarswellNat 139, 2020 FCA 17, M. Nadon J.A., J.D. Denis Pelletier J.A., and Yves de Montigny J.A. (F.C.A.); affirmed (2018), 2018 CarswellNat 2562, 2018 CarswellNat 2700, 2018 FC 504, 2018 CF 504, E. Heneghan J. (F.C.).

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