Ontario Civil


Evidence

PRIOR JUDICIAL DECISION
Government entitled to rely on judgments as precedents but not tender them into evidence

Motion by Ontario government for ruling on admissibility of prior judgments from other provinces as evidence on jurisdictional motion. Ontario government enacted Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, 2009 (Ont.), permitting actions to be brought against tobacco companies for recovery of tobacco-related health care costs. Ontario government commenced action in Ontario against 14 tobacco companies for recovery of $50 billion in tobacco-related health care costs. Similar proceedings had been commenced in British Columbia and New Brunswick by governments of those provinces. Six tobacco companies claimed to be foreign companies beyond jurisdiction of provinces. Foreign tobacco companies unsuccessfully brought motions in British Columbia and New Brunswick challenging jurisdiction of those courts. Foreign tobacco companies commenced motion in Ontario for order setting aside service ex juris of statement of claim and staying or dismissing action as against them on basis of lack of jurisdiction. Ontario government wanted to tender judgments of British Columbia and New Brunswick courts into evidence rather than just use them as authorities. Motion dismissed. Ontario government was entitled to rely on judgments as precedents but not tender them into evidence. Authority relating to use of factual findings in prior judgment was distinguishable. In present case, Ontario government was not seeking to rely on factual findings but rather legal analysis and conclusions. Ontario government was unable to point to any factual findings underlying conclusions in British Columbia and New Brunswick judgments that there was real and substantial connection with those provinces.


Ontario v. Rothmans Inc.

(Sep. 20, 2011, Ont. S.C.J., Conway J., File No. CV-09-387984) 207 A.C.W.S. (3d) 485 (40 pp.).

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