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Bill 96: Ten things you should know

Bill 96: Ten things you should know

Quebec recently enacted Bill 96, entitled An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, which aims to overhaul the Charter of the French language.

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  • Construction: An unwarranted contestation may be considered an abuse of procedure

    In the decision in 9058-4004 Québec inc. c. 9337-9907 Québec inc.1 rendered on October 21, 2022, the court granted compensation to a subcontractor for its extrajudicial fees further to a general contractor’s unfounded contestation of its claim as part of a hypothecary action. The facts In May 2019, Portes de garage Citadelle Ltée (“Citadelle”) and general contractor 9337-9907 Québec inc. (“AllConstructions”) concluded a contract for the provision of services and materials needed to install unloading docks in a building under construction. On May 16, 2019, notice of the contract was given to the building owner, 9058-4004 Québec inc. (“Transport Pouliot”). The first two phases of Citadelle’s work were completed between June and August 2019. In late September 2019, AllConstructions allegedly vacated the worksite after a dispute with Transport Pouliot. The third phase of Citadelle’s work was completed in October 2019. On November 25, 2019, Citadelle sent a statement of account to AllConstructions and registered a legal hypothec on the building two days later. On December 23, 2019, after registering a prior notice of the exercise of a hypothecary right, AllConstructions brought a hypothecary action against Transport Pouliot in the Superior Court, claiming the sums it was owed. For its part, Citadelle brought a hypothecary action against the owner, Transport Pouliot, and instituted legal proceedings against AllConstructions in April 2020. It is important to note that during the proceedings, AllConstructions admitted that it had received payment from Transport Pouliot for the sums invoiced by Citadelle. To justify its refusal to pay its subcontractor Citadelle, AllConstructions argued summarily that the services and materials provided were inadequate and did not meet standards. Despite its weak position and the lack of compelling evidence, AllConstructions maintained its argument. Citadelle had no choice but to pursue its legal proceedings and apply to have AllConstructions’ action declared abusive in order to recover its extrajudicial fees. AllConstructions’ abuse of procedure Citadelle claimed that AllConstructions’ defence was unfounded, frivolous and intended to delay. AllConstructions only had testimonial evidence to support its allegations, and it failed to file any expert opinions or exhibits. The contract did not contain a “pay when paid” clause, and AllConstructions admitted in the proceedings that it had received payment from Transport Pouliot for the sums invoiced by Citadelle. AllConstructions claimed that it had serious arguments to make in response to the application to have its action declared abusive. It stated that the work performed by Citadelle was inadequate and that the materials and services provided were not up to standards. It maintained its position, despite the fact that it had vacated the worksite a month before Citadelle’s work was completed and, therefore, could not have verified the actual quality of the work performed. In March 2022, AllConstructions ultimately abandoned its contestation of Citadelle’s claim a few days before the trial and nearly a year and a half after the proceedings began. The judge allowed Citadelle’s application to have AllConstructions’ action declared abusive. AllConstructions’ defence was unfounded, frivolous and intended to delay. It had no solid factual or legal basis. The allegation that Citadelle failed to comply with standards in the performance of its contract is mere speculation, as AllConstructions left the worksite in September 2019. Citadelle incurred unnecessary extrajudicial fees as a result of AllConstructions’ unfounded contestation of its claim. The judge awarded Citadelle a sum of $9,000.00 as compensation for the legal fees that it had paid. What it means A general contractor that cannot justify a deduction from its subcontractor’s claims after the work is completed but does so anyway risks having its contestation declared abusive. Jurisprudence has established that abuse of procedure may consist of légèreté blâmable [blameworthy conduct]2 or témérité [recklessness] resulting from allegations that do not stand up to careful analysis or are exaggerated beyond the scope of the dispute between the parties.3 A manifestly unfounded action is a civil fault that may be subject to legal proceedings and sanctions in accordance with article 51 of the Code of Civil Procedure.4 A party that considers itself the victim of abusive proceedings may, in addition to applying to have the proceedings declared abusive, claim the reimbursement of reasonable legal fees it has paid.5 This is precisely what Citadelle did and what it obtained. AllConstructions irresponsibly managed its dispute with its subcontractor. It made arguments based only on unverified assumptions, even though the evidence set out in the application was relatively solid and complete. As a victim of abuse of procedure, Citadelle was granted a reimbursement of its legal fees in addition to the sums that it was owed by AllConstructions. Court file No. 760-22-011912-204 Royal Lepage commercial inc. c. 109650 Canada ltd., 2007 QCCA 915 El-Hachem c. Décary, 2012 QCCA 2071 2741-8854 Québec inc. c. Restaurant King Ouest, 2018 QCCA 1807 (CanLII) Only extrajudicial fees deemed reasonable are reimbursed in full. The factors considered in establishing a total reasonable amount are summarized in paragraph 32 of the case at hand and are cited from Groupe Van Houtte inc. c. Développements industriels et commerciaux de Montréal inc., 2010 QCCA 1970, and Iris Le Groupe visuel (1990) inc. c. 9105-1862 Québec inc., 2021 QCCA 1208

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  1. A new associate joins Lavery

    Lavery is pleased to welcome Alexandre Turcotte to its Montréal office. He works primarily in corporate finance law, mergers and acquisitions and securities. Alexandre is joining the Business Law group. He works primarily in mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate finance law. In his practice, he has represented and advised private companies and public institutions for significant business transactions and operations. "I decided to join Lavery to specialize my practice in business law and to develop my skills at a firm of excellence that offers great opportunities to young lawyers. But it was really the enthusiasm and passion of my future colleagues that really sealed the deal for me."

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  2. Litigation: Lexpert Recognizes Two Partners as Leading Lawyers in Canada

    Lavery is proud to announce that Lexpert recognized the expertise of two of our partners in its 2022 Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation. Laurence Bich-Carrière et Myriam Brixi now rank among Canada’s leaders in Litigation. The Lexpert Special Edition profiles Lexpert-ranked litigators who have distinguished themselves by participating in some of the most significant litigation cases and by their reputation among their peers and clients. This recognition is a testament to Laurence and Myriam's talent and expertise as well as their influence in the legal market.

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  3. Selena Lu: a rising star of Canada’s legal community

    Lavery is proud to announce that on November 22, Selena Lu received the Rising Stars Leading Lawyers Under 40 award from Lexpert. This prestigious award honours lawyers under the age of 40 who distinguish themselves in the legal profession. The winners are selected by a jury of law firm managing partners and recognized corporate counsels, based on rigorously studied criteria like leadership, outstanding professional achievement and the services provided to clients. As a partner in the Business Law group, Selena focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions. She frequently advises clients abroad on commercial law, investment and expansion in Canada.  Over the years, Selena has acquired significant experience in supporting customers in their technological change. On a day-to-day basis, she advises clients on the legal impacts of the introduction of new technologies.  Selena is also actively involved in her community. She has held several leadership roles, including President of the Young Chinese Professionals Association (YCPA), Chair of the organizing committee of the Montreal Chinese Hospital Foundation Ball and President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal. She currently sits on several boards, including the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.  “It’s an honour for me to receive this award—I’m truly touched! I would like to thank my clients for their trust and for the privilege of being their growth partner. Working with them motivates me to invest in the projects and ideas that are shaping the legal and business world, and hopefully to make more stars shine, both now and in the future” says Selena. Congratulations to Selena for this distinction that is a testament to her talent and expertise. For more information, read the article :  https://risingstarscanada.com/winners-finalists/2022

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