Apr 15, 2019

National Self-Represented Litigants Project Summaries

Tincup Wilderness Lodges Ltd. v. Panabode International Ltd., 2014 YKSM 9 (CanLII)
Court level
Area of Law
Date of Case
Judge Name
SRL Party: Who is the SRL in the Case?
Was an accommodation requested by the SRL? For example, anything that can affect their ability to manage the case, a Mackenzie friend, interpreter, etc.
None Requested
Is the SRL a person with disability?
Gender of the SRL
Was the outcome for the SRL positive or negative?
Is either SRL a person with disability?
Gender of SRLs
Has vexatiousness been addressed in this case?
Procedural Fairness:Does this case involve procedural fairness in relation to the SRL's ability to adequately represent him/herself?
Please explain how procedural fairness is relevant to this case...
Were costs awarded for/against the SRL?
Was this a regular 'loser pays' award? Or was there a punitive element to the costs against the SRL?
Please explain how costs were broken down for the SRL in this case: how were they calculated (hourly rate, number of hours, etc)
Issues in the Case
1. Should the Plaintiff's amended Claim be struck on the basis that it discloses no reasonable claim? 2. If no, should this Court decline jurisdiction to hear the matter on the basis that it is more appropriately adjudicated in British Columbia? [para 5].
Case Facts
Over the course of several months in 2012 and early 2013, the Plaintiff and the Defendant entered into a contract whereby Tincup purchased wood and other construction materials from Panabode. The contract had both oral and written components, and the business was transacted by email, phone, and in-person at Panabode's offices near Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to providing the materials, the parties agreed that Panabode would package them and have them sent by road to Mile 1118 Alaska Highway, where Tincup would retrieve them. Tincup would then use a helicopter to transport them from this location to the site of the fishing lodge. As such, the bundling of the material assumed great importance, as the helicopter could not transport bundles weighing in excess of 2,500 pounds. Tincup alleges that Panabode breached the terms of the contract by either packaging the material into bundles that weighed in excess of 2,500 pounds or by poorly packaging the material such that it arrived soaking wet and weighing more than 2,500 pounds per bundle. Whatever the case, Tincup is seeking damages for costs it incurred in repackaging the bundles so that the material could be helicoptered to the building site. This includes labour and equipment costs as well as additional flight time costs. The amount claimed is $25,000. Panabode's position is that the packaging and handling of the materials did not form part of the contract between the parties, and it denies any liability on this basis [paras 2-4]… his preliminary application was brought by Panabode asking this Court to either strike the application or, in the alternative, to decline jurisdiction on the basis that the matter is more properly heard in British Columbia [para 1].
Holding in the Case
ISSUE 1: The plaintiff’s amended claim should not be truck due to not disclosing a reasonable claim: “I cannot find that Panabode's application satisfies this test. The Plaintiff's facts as set out in the Statement of Claim raise triable issues, and success will have to be based on findings of credibility, the weighing of evidence and the interpretation of the contract formed between the Parties. It is not plain and obvious that the Claim is doomed to fail” [para 9]… “At para. 4 of McClements, Gower J. notes that when hearing an application to strike, the court must assume that all the facts alleged in the claim are true, and that striking should only be done in plain and obvious cases where the claim is certain to fail” [para 8]. ISSUE 2: “this Court declines to accept jurisdiction to hear the Plaintiff's claim on the basis the Yukon Small Claims Court lacks jurisdiction simpliciter, and the Province of British Columbia is the appropriate forum for this matter to be heard” [para 48]. Again, it is my view that this court does not have jurisdiction simpliciter in this dispute. However, if I have erred, I would nonetheless find that British Columbia is a more appropriate forum for this dispute…”Again, it is my view that this court does not have jurisdiction simpliciter in this dispute. However, if I have erred, I would nonetheless find that British Columbia is a more appropriate forum for this dispute” [para 40].
Can this case be used to aid an SRL in the future? Explain why.
Yes, the case can be used to aid an SRL in the future as a judicial statement of acknowledging some of the challneges and inequality experienced by SRL: no clear or easily accessible information about the jurisdictional implications of filing a reply in legislation, regulations, or in the material available to SRLs [para 38]. Unless a reply is filed, the litigant risks default judgement [para 38]. These factors can be used within the context of “attornment” specifically, or in the context of barriers to procedural fairness faced by SRLs in the legal system, in general. The court provides an alternative to the rigid application of “attornment” and instead, it is arguedthat the determination should be made on the basis of facts and with a consideration of the expense, time and energy spent by the Plaintiff on proving the merits of its case” [para 39].