Ontario Civil

Conflict of Laws

There was no error in analysis of juridical advantage

Plaintiff signed employment contract in Ontario, but worked for over one year in New York. Plaintiff was dismissed for cause and brought wrongful dismissal action in Ontario. Defendant brought motion to stay plaintiff’s action on basis that, relative to New York State, Ontario was forum non conveniens. Motion was dismissed. Defendant appealed. Appeal dismissed. There was no error in master’s analysis of juridical advantage. Master’s analysis included finding that Ontario law would likely apply and that New York State was “at will” jurisdiction that does not recognize, and would not be accustomed to applying, principles of wrongful dismissal and right to reasonable notice that are familiar to judges in Ontario. This was legitimate factor to take into account, and there was nothing to contrary in Supreme Court of Canada decision cited by defendant. Master merely recognized existence of juridical advantage for plaintiff to have case decided by judge who is accustomed to applying governing legal concepts that are simply not part of New York law. Ontario Court of Appeal has recognized that juridical advantage may be particularly relevant where claims are simply unknown under U.S. law.

Machado v. Catalyst Capital Group Inc. (2016), 2016 CarswellOnt 16911, 2016 ONSC 6719, Molloy J. (Ont. Div. Ct.); affirmed (2015), 2015 CarswellOnt 15650, 2015 ONSC 6313, Master D.E. Short (Ont. S.C.J.).

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