Myriam Brixi Partner, Lawyer

Bureau

  • Montréal

Phone number

514 878-5449

Fax

514 871-8977

Bar Admission

  • Québec, 2010

Languages

  • English
  • French

Profile

Partner

Myriam Brixi is a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. Her practice focuses mainly on class actions, product liability, consumer law, franchising and distribution and insurance law. Ms. Brixi has participated in complex class actions raising important legal issues, including a wide range of multi-jurisdictional class actions.

The experience she has gained in these major cases has enabled her to develop a deep understanding of the procedural and strategic aspects of class actions in Canada. She also represents insurance companies, including their insureds in matters of civil and professional liability, particularly in the construction industry.

In 2022, Ms. Brixi was recognized in the Top 100 Women in Litigation in Canada by Benchmark Litigation. She was also recognized by The Best Lawyers in Canada in class actions. She has been recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in class actions and has been named Leading Lawyer in litigation by Lexpert.

Ms. Brixi is actively involved in her community. In particular, she was appointed by the Barreau du Québec to sit on the Access to Justice Committee. She is Chair of the Executive Committee of the Class Action Section and Co-Chair of the Citizenship and Charters Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Factry. 

Representative mandates 

  • Represented several major financial institutions in class actions alleging price-fixing cartels
  • Represented a major player in the customer loyalty market in a class action concerning its right to amend the general conditions of its rewards program
  • Represented an events promoter in a class action dealing with the scope of its obligations related to the holding of a festival
  • Represented several automobile manufacturers in a number of class actions dealing with manufacturer's liability
  • Represented the largest food processing company in Quebec in a class action concerning manufacturer's liability
  • Represented an electronic products company in a class action conceming manufacturer's liability
  • Represented a retailer of cellphone services in a class action involving the sale of extended warranties
  • Represented a major Japanese company in the Quebec portion of an international class action relating to a price-fixing cartel
  • Represented an energy drink company in a class action involving allegations of false and misleading
  • Represented clinics in a class action related to accessory fees in healthcare services
  • Represented a chemical products distributor in a class action instituted on behalf of the victims of a legionella outbreak in Quebec City
  • Represented a religious congregation in a class action involving allegations of vicarious liability
  • Represented a seaplane base in a class action for noise nuisance and neighborhood disturbances
  • Represented a construction contractor in a class action related to sources of nuisance and neighborhood disturbances
  • Represented a zinc refinery in a class action related to neighborhood disturbances

Professional and community activities 

  • Vice-President of the Executive Committee of the class action section of the Canadian Bar Association, Québec Branch
  • Co-Chair of the Citizenship and Charters Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, Québec Branch
  • Coach, Pierre-Basile-Mignault Moot Court Competition, UQAM
  • Member of the Committee on Access to Justice of the Barreau du Québec
  • Member of the Young Advocates' Standing Committee of the Quebec chapter of the Advocates' Society
  • Member of the board of directors of the Young Bar of Montreal (2015-16)
  • Head of the Technology and Information Committee of the Young Bar of Montreal (2015-16)
  • Pro Bono legal services for the Fondation Mira
  • Writer for the Research and Legislation Committee
  • Volunteer with the Small Claims Courts hearing preparation service
  • Volunteer with the Éducaloi justice workshops program

Publications and Lectures

Distinctions

  • Top 100 Women in Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, 2022
  • Lexpert 2021 Rising Stars Award
  • Rising Stars Awards 2021 Future legal leaders in the field of Litigation, Rising stars Awards 2021 Americas Euromoney
  • Rising Star in Canada in the field of Litigation, Expert Guides the world's leading lawyers chosen by their peers, 2021
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada, Class Actions, 2021
  • Leading Lawyer in litigation, Lexpert, 2021
  • The Canadian Legal LEXPERT® Directory in the field of Class Actions, since 2020
  • 40 & Under Hot List, Benchmark Litigation, 2020
  • Litigation Future Star, Benchmark Litigation, 2020
Best Lawyers 2022 Lexpert 2022 Top 100 Women in Litigation - Benchmark Litigation

Education

  • J.D., Université de Sherbrooke, 2009
  • LL.B., Université de Sherbrooke, 2008
  • Université de Rennes I, France, 2007

Boards and Professional Affiliations

  • Board of Directors of the Factry
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Advocates’ Society
  1. Loss of personal information: The Superior Court dismisses a class action

    On March 26, 2021, the Superior Court rendered a decision dismissing a class action against the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) on the loss of personal information of thousands of Canadian investors.1 The lack of evidence of compensable injury and IIROC’s diligent behaviour are the main reasons for the dismissal of the class action. The Facts On February 22, 2013, an inspector working for IIROC forgot his laptop computer in a public place. The computer, which contained the personal information of approximately 50,000 Canadians, was never found. The information had originally been collected by various securities brokers who were under inspection by IIROC. Mr. Lamoureux, whose personal information was on the computer, brought a class action on behalf of all persons whose personal information was lost in the incident. He claimed compensatory damages for the stress, anxiety and worries associated with the loss of personal information, as well as compensation for the injury associated with the identity theft or attempted identity theft of members. He also claimed punitive damages for unlawful and intentional infringement of the right to privacy protected by the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. On this point, the members claimed that IIROC had been reckless and had delayed in notifying affected persons and brokers, as well as relevant authorities. Decision The class action is dismissed in its entirety. Compensatory damages The Superior Court started by acknowledging IIROC’s admission that it was at fault for the loss of the computer, and that the computer was not encrypted as it should have been to comply with IIROC policies. With respect to compensatory damages, the Court reiterated the principle according to which the existence of fault does not presume the existence of injury; each case must be analyzed on the basis of the evidence.2 In this case, the injury alleged by the members can be summarized as follows: They suffered worry, anger, stress and anxiety about the incident. They were forced to monitor their financial accounts, and in particular their credit cards and bank accounts. They were inconvenienced and wasted time in having to deal with credit agencies and ensuring that their personal information was protected. They felt shame and suffered delays caused by identity checks on their credit applications attributable to flags on their files. In its analysis, the Court held that, apart from the fact that the members were generally troubled by the loss of their personal information, there was no evidence of any particular and significant difficulties related to their mental state. Relying on Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd.,3 the Court reiterated that “the law does not recognize upset, disgust, anxiety, agitation or other mental states that fall short of injury.” If the injury is not serious and prolonged, and is limited to ordinary discomforts and fears that are inherent to life in society, it does not constitute compensable injury. In this case, the Court found that the negative feelings experienced as a result of the loss of personal information did not rise above the level of ordinary discomforts, anxieties and fears that people living in society routinely accept. Having to monitor one’s personal accounts more closely does not qualify as a compensable injury, as the courts equate this practice with that of [translation] “a reasonable person who protects their assets.”4 The Court also considered the fact that IIROC provided members with free credit monitoring and protection services. It thus concluded that, in this respect, there was no injury to compensate. Finally, the experts who were mandated to analyze the circumstances and wrongful use of the investors’ personal information found that there was no clear indication of wrongful use of the information by a person or group of persons, although evidence of wrongful use of personal information is not necessary to assert a claim. Punitive damages The plaintiff, on behalf of the members of the class action, also sought punitive damages on the grounds that IIROC had been reckless in its handling of the incident. To analyze IIROC’s diligence, the Court noted the following facts.  IIROC launched an internal investigation in the week that followed that of February 22, 2013, the date on which the computer was lost. On March 4, 2013, the investigation revealed that the computer likely contained the personal information of thousands of Canadians. IIROC filed a police report. On March 6, 2013, it mandated Deloitte to identify what personal information was lost and who were the affected persons and brokerage firms, and to help it manage the risks and obligations associated with the loss of the personal information. On March 22, 2013, Deloitte informed IIROC that the computer contained “highly sensitive” and “increased sensitivity” information about thousands of Canadian investors. On March 27, 2013, IIROC notified the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. On April 8 and 9, 2013, IIROC met with representatives of the affected brokerage firms, and simultaneously mandated credit agencies to implement safeguards for investors and brokerage firms. IIROC also set up a bilingual call center, issued a press release about the loss of the computer and sent a letter to affected investors. The Court also accepted expert evidence according to which IIROC’s response was consistent with industry best practices, and that the measures put in place were appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with other responses to similar incidents. In light of the evidence, the Court concluded that the loss of the unencrypted laptop computer and the resulting violation of the right to privacy were isolated and unintentional. It therefore dismissed the claim for punitive damages. The outcome is that IIROC was not reckless: it rather acted in a timely manner. Comments This decision introduces a basis for analyzing the diligent conduct of a company should the personal information that it holds be compromised, and confirms that a prompt and diligent response to a security incident can safeguard against a civil suit. It also confirms that the mere loss of personal information, no matter how sensitive, is not in itself sufficient to justify financial compensation, and that it must be proven that injury was suffered. Furthermore, ordinary annoyances and temporary inconveniences do not constitute compensable injury, and monitoring financial accounts is not exceptional, but is rather considered the standard practice expected of a reasonable person protecting their assets. At the time of writing this bulletin, the time limit for appeal has not expired and the plaintiff has not announced whether he intends to appeal the judgment. Lamoureux v. Organisme canadien de réglementation du commerce des valeurs mobilières (OCRCVM), 2021 QCCS 1093. Sofio v. Organisme canadien de réglementation du commerce des valeurs mobilières (OCRCVM), 2014 QCCS 4061, paras. 21 and 22. Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd., 2008 SCC 27 [2008] 2 SCR 114. Lamoureux v. Organisme canadien de réglementation du commerce des valeurs mobilières, 2021 QCCS 1093, para. 73.

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  2. A Decision of Interest to the Entertainment Industry

    Is an event organizer responsible for an artist’s late appearance? Context is key, answers the Superior Court’s, as it dismisses the application for authorization to institute a class action against Gestion Evenko Inc.1 regarding Travis Scott’s late appearance at the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in the summer of 2018. Overview of the first class action on this topic in Quebec. Background The Osheaga Festival, organized by the defendant, Evenko, is a huge celebration dedicated to music and visual arts where artists of all genres perform for three days on the many outdoor stages set up in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Notre-Dame Island. Rapper Travis Scott was on the lineup for the evening of August 3, 2018. His performance was scheduled from 9:45 p.m. to 10:55 p.m. on the River stage. Wishing to attend this performance, the plaintiff, who had purchased a weekend pass, went to the venue at 8:45 p.m. Unfortunately, Travis Scott was held up at customs that evening. The sequence of events can be summarized as follows. At 9:55 p.m., Evenko displayed a first message on the site’s giant screens indicating that the show was delayed for a reason beyond its control. At 10:15 p.m., Evenko broadcast a second message, both on the giant screens and on Twitter, indicating that Travis Scott had been delayed at customs and was on his way to Notre-Dame Island. At 10:30 p.m., the plaintiff left the premises; she claimed that she did not believe Evenko's messages, feared a curfew and found the crowd aggressive. At 10:40 p.m., Evenko broadcast a third message on the giant screens confirming that Travis Scott had arrived on the island. At 10:55 p.m., Evenko broadcast a fourth message announcing to festival-goers that the show was about to begin. The show started at 11:00 p.m. and ended around 11:40 p.m. An application for authorization to institute a class action was filed the next day. The plaintiff sought to represent nearly 50,000 festival-goers who, in her opinion, suffered prejudice attributable to Evenko. She claimed that Travis Scott’s 90-minute delay constituted a breach of contract by Evenko such that all members of the group should obtain a refund equivalent to the value of a daily pass. The Decision In carrying out the analysis required by section 575 of the C.C.P., Justice André Prévost concluded that the alleged facts did not appear to justify the conclusions sought. The application for authorization to institute a class action was therefore dismissed. From the outset, the Court questioned some of the allegations in the application: for example, the plaintiff’s assertion that [translation] “Travis Scott’s performance was the main consideration in the contract with Evenko” seems incompatible with the fact that she purchased a three-day pass (paras. 51, 56); similarly, there was no evidence to support her claim that the crowd was aggressive (para. 54). However, it is mainly two deficiencies in the legal syllogism that led the Court to conclude that the application for authorization did not establish an arguable case or a reasonable prospect of success (para. 66). First, the Court refused to reduce the Osheaga Festival experience to a single performance, even that of a headliner. Rather, it described the event as [translation] “a comprehensive experience [...] whose interest lies in the multiplicity and simultaneity of cultural experiences” (para. 48). In fact, in addition to the invited musical, cultural and circus artists, there are various activities, fairs, cruises and awards ceremonies, to name but a few (para. 48). The Court pointed out that all documents relating to Osheaga’s programming and schedule contain one or more of the following warnings: “Schedule and lineup subject to change” or “Artists and schedule subject to change” (para. 47). These warnings are a strong indication that such delays are far from unusual or, in the words of the Court, [translation] “this is not exceptional for those acquainted with the cultural milieu” (para. 57). In this context, Evenko cannot be found to be at fault. The Court continued its analysis, adding that, even if it were found to be at fault, which is not the case, the situation did not result in any compensable damage: Citing Sofio2 and Mustapha3, the Court pointed out that mere annoyance is not prejudice, and that, in fact, [translation] “there is no evidence that Travis Scott’s delayed performance caused a more serious inconvenience than what is usual for people attending festivals of this nature” (para. 65). In short, in the context of a multi-genre festival, an artist appearing late does not necessarily constitute compensable prejudice and does not automatically amount to the promoter’s failure to fulfil its obligations. What It Means The decision is important to the entertainment industry in that it recognizes that major event organizers sometimes deal with unforeseen circumstances and they are allowed reasonable leeway to adapt to them. Of course, each situation will be particular, but a well-informed promoter will make sure to indicate that changes are possible in its documentation. The decision also recognizes that a comprehensive cultural experience is more than the sum of its parts: a single artist appearing late does not cast a pall on the entire event. This conclusion is likely to apply to many other industries: Osheaga is a typical example of a set of distinct and simultaneous performances, but the same characterization can be given to all the rides in an amusement park or all the individual sections of a zoological garden. Our partners, Myriam Brixi and Laurence Bich-Carrière have successfully represented Evenko's interests in this case.   Le Stum c. Gestion Evenko inc., 2019 QCCS 2422. The time limit for appeal expired on July 22, 2019. Sofio c. Organisme canadien de réglementation du commerce des valeurs mobilières (OCRCVM), 2015 QCCA 1820. Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd., [2008] 2 SCR 114, 2008 SCC 27.

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  3. Cyberattack: Superior Court dismisses application for authorization to institute a class action against Yahoo! Inc.

    The Superior Court of Québec dismissed an application for authorization to institute a class action against Yahoo! Inc.1 (hereinafter “Yahoo!”) seeking damages as a result of cyberattacks that compromised the confidentiality of user data. Context In September 2016, Yahoo! issued a press release announcing that nearly 500 million users were reportedly victims of a cyberattack in 2014. In December 2016, the company informed its users of another cyberattack that it claims took place in 2013. In February 2017, users were informed that the use of cookies apparently allowed a third party to access information contained in their accounts between 2015 and 2016. While a class action was brought in Ontario in December 2016, an application for authorization to institute a class action was filed in Québec the following month seeking compensation for users who were victims of one or more of these cyberattacks. The decision No arguable case After limiting the class to Québec residents whose information was lost and/or stolen between 2013 and 2019, the Court addressed the test set forth in paragraph 2 of article 575 of the Code of Civil Procedure. According to this criterion, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the alleged facts appear to justify the conclusions sought. The Court must distinguish factual allegations from arguments, opinions, unsupported inferences and hypotheses, as well as assertions that are implausible or false. This analysis is carried out in light of the plaintiff’s cause of action. In this case, the plaintiff had a Yahoo! email account. She alleged having suffered harm because her account may have been hacked during the 2013 cyberattack, although the nature of the compromised information is not yet known. She added that she suffered additional harm due to the “imminent” and “certainly impending” threat of identity theft and fraud resulting from the sale of her information on the black market and its use by criminals. She was also embarrassed because some of her friends received spam emails from her account in her name. As a result, she must now take steps to protect her personal and financial information. Building on the principles set out in the Sofio2 and Mustapha3 decisions, the Court reiterated that the demonstration of an alleged fault does not presuppose the existence of prejudice and that the latter must be serious and prolonged. Embarrassment and temporary inconveniences of an ordinary nature do not constitute compensable damages. Contrary to the allegations in the application, the Court considered that the plaintiff’s answers during her examination demonstrated that she has no reason to believe that she was a victim of identity theft or fraud, since she did not identify any suspicious charges and did not receive a poor credit report. In addition, she continued to use her Yahoo! account and admitted that she did not purchase any identity protection services, such as credit monitoring. Thus, the only prejudice the plaintiff suffered is the fact that she had to change her passwords for all of the accounts associated with her Yahoo! email address and the embarrassment she suffered because of the spam emails that were sent to her friends. On this point, the Court noted that none of the spam emails were filed into the Court record and that none of the recipients of the spam emails suffered harm. Consequently, the Court concluded that the plaintiff had not demonstrated the existence of an arguable cause. The Court distinguished the facts in this case from those in Zuckerman4 and Belley5, in which the plaintiffs had incurred expenses to protect their information or had been victims of fraud or identity theft. Inadequate representation Adequate representation implies that the representative plaintiff has a valid personal cause of action. However, a civil liability action requires the demonstration of a legal basis for the claim of damages, which was not achieved in this case. To summarize: It is not enough to claim the existence of a fault: damage must result therefrom. The notion of “compensable harm” must go beyond mere annoyance. Conclusion Legal action brought as a result of data breaches has increased exponentially in recent years. Cybercrime has become the second most common type of financial fraud. Any company that retains client data should be aware of the risks associated with cyberattacks and the potential lawsuits. To minimize risks, several measures can be implemented, such as adopting a response plan for cyberattacks, training employees and regularly updating security measures. For example, the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) provides a detailed framework that allows companies to implement secure transaction processes. It is recommended that companies consult an IT specialist or hire an internal expert for guidance. It is also recommended that companies contact their insurers to verify their insurance policy coverage and, if necessary, obtain cyber risk insurance coverage. For class action practitioners, this decision once again demonstrates the importance of bearing in mind the impact that the examination of the representative plaintiff could have on the outcome of a case.   Bourbonnière v. Yahoo! Inc., 2019 QCCS 2624. Sofio c. Organisme canadien de réglementation du commerce des valeurs mobilières (OCRCVM), 2015 QCCA 1820. Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd., 2008 SCC 27. Zukerman v. Target Corporation, 2015 QCCA 1809. Belley v. TD Auto Finance Services Inc./Services de financement auto TD inc., 2015 QCCS 168/2015 QCCA 1255.

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  4. Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corp. v. Hydro-Québec | The Supreme Court rules in favour of Hydro-Québec: the interaction between good faith and the scheme of the contract

    Introduction Although 24 years of jurisprudence have gone by since its codification in article 1375 of the Civil Code of Québec, the notion of good faith remains a vague concept whose incidence on the performance of contracts is still unclear.  Although it is increasingly evident that good faith is not a mere interpretive concept without substantial meaning, the most fundamental uncertainty remains— or rather, remained, until the Supreme Court of Canada rendered the decision that is the subject of this bulletin. This uncertainty has to do with knowing to what extent the general obligation of good faith can change the content of a contract duly entered into by the parties. In other words, could the judge, on the basis of article 1375 CCQ, intervene in the contract, the “law for the parties,” to remodel it according to the judge’s understanding of good faith? Context In this matter, the plaintiff, Churchill Falls, argued that the other contracting party, Hydro-Québec, had an obligation to renegotiate the price in a contract under which the latter had undertaken to purchase most of the electricity produced by the Churchill Falls power plant at a fixed price for a period of 65 years. According to Churchill Falls, this obligation to renegotiate the price was a matter of good faith and was required of Hydro-Québec due to the changes in the electricity market that meant that the fixed price in the contract had become too low compared to the prices paid on this market. The Court thus had to decide whether it could, on the basis of the notion of good faith, add an obligation to renegotiate the price to the fixed price contract. Decision The Supreme Court of Canada responded to this question in the negative, as had the Superior Court and Court of Appeal of Quebec. To do this, it analyzed and rejected each of the arguments submitted by Churchill Falls. We will briefly examine these arguments and the way in which the Supreme Court rejected them. The contract is not a joint venture contract Churchill Falls initially claimed that the contract that it had signed with Hydro-Québec was a joint venture contract, which, by its very nature, implies an equitable sharing of risks and profits, and therefore entails an obligation to renegotiate the price in order to better share the profits generated from the sale of electricity. The legal nature of a joint venture contract is disputed since some authors, looking to Quebec jurisprudence, are of the opinion that it consists of an undeclared partnership, while others defend the existence in Quebec law of a sui generis contract of joint venture.  Without getting into this debate, the majority of the Court was of the opinion that the contract in question fulfilled neither the criteria of an undeclared partnership contract, nor those of a sui generis contract of joint venture. In fact, regarding the undeclared partnership, the evidence showed no common intention to form a partnership (animus societatis) nor any combining of resources. Regarding the sui generis contract of joint venture, the majority of the Court identified from authors who defend this unnamed legal form the determining factor of “an intention to jointly assume the responsibility involved in carrying out the proposed project.” However, the contract in question clearly defined and divided the responsibility of each party to the contract in such a way that no intention to share responsibility for the project could be deduced. The contract is not a relational contract Churchill Falls then claimed that the contract that it had signed with Hydro-Québec was a relational contract that, by its very nature, entailed a stricter obligation of good faith, including, given the change in circumstances, the obligation for the parties to renegotiate the price in order to better share the profits from the sale of electricity. The majority of the Court rejected this argument because they were of the opinion that the contract in question was not a relational contract. They did not rule on the second part of this argument, regarding the scope of a good faith obligation if it were a relational contract. Regarding the definition of relational contracts, the position of the majority of the Court sets a precedent. In fact, while jurisprudence and authors have defined the relational contract in a variety of somewhat eclectic ways, the majority of the Court accepted only the definition proposed in 1998 by Professor Belley: “a relational contract can roughly be defined as a contract that sets out the rules for a close cooperation that the parties wish to maintain over the long term.” In essence, relational contracts provide for economic coordination as opposed to setting out a series of defined prestations. It is a corollary to the emphasis on the parties’ relationship that their respective prestations are not defined in much detail. The contract in question here clearly quantified and defined each party’s prestations, so that no important prestations were left undefined. According to the majority of the Court, this shows that the parties intended the project to proceed according to the words of the contract at face value, not on the basis of their ability to agree and cooperate from day to day to fill any gaps in the contract: “The Power Contract sets out a series of defined and detailed prestations as opposed to providing for flexible economic coordination. It is not therefore a relational contract.” No implied obligation to renegotiate the price Churchill Falls (CFLCo) also claimed that an implied obligation to collaborate and renegotiate the price is incident to the contract according to its nature, under art. 1434 CCQ. The majority of the Court dismissed this argument. On this subject also, the position of the majority of the Court sets a precedent. In fact, to a certain degree, the judges strengthened and shed light on the concept of implied contractual obligations under article 1434 CCQ. According to them, an implied duty may be incident to a contract according to the nature of the contract if the duty is consistent with the general scheme of the contract and if the contract’s coherency seems to require such a duty. However, such an implied clause must not merely add duties to the contract that might enhance it, but must fill a gap in the terms of the contract such that it can be presumed that the clause reflects the parties’ intention, which is inferred from their choice to enter into a given type of contract. The majority of the Court noted that in this case, there is nothing to suggest that the parties’ prestations would be incomprehensible and would have no basis or meaningful effect in the absence of an implied duty according to which Hydro-Québec must either exceed the usual requirements of good faith in cooperating with CFLCo or redistribute windfall profits: “The Contract governs the financing of the Plant and the sale of electricity produced there, and also strictly regulates the quantity of electricity to be provided by CFLCo and the price to be paid by Hydro-Québec. The meaningful effect of the sale for the parties is clearly identifiable: Hydro-Québec obtains electricity, while CFLCo receives the price paid for it. The fact that the price might not be in line with market prices does not destroy the very logic behind the sale or deprive it of any meaningful effect. Furthermore, the benefits each party derives from the sale are related to the other prestations associated with the construction of the Plant. There is no gap or omission in the scheme of the Contract that requires this Court to read an implied duty into the Contract in order to make it coherent.” The limits of good faith and the rejection of the doctrine of unforeseeability Finally, Churchill Falls argued that independently from the nature of the contract, Hydro-Québec was nonetheless obliged to renegotiate because, in Quebec civil law, the concepts of good faith and equity condition the exercise of the rights created by any type of contract. It argued that these concepts prevent Hydro-Québec from relying on the words of the Contract, because to do so in circumstances in which the Contract effectively provides for disproportionate prestations would be contrary to its duty to act in good faith and in accordance with equity. And given that the prestations owed by the parties have been disproportionate since the changes in the market occurred, it argued that Hydro-Québec has been violating its duties related to good faith since then by refusing to renegotiate the Contract.  In this regard, the majority of the Court began by categorically affirming that the doctrine of unforeseeability, which Churchill Falls seemed to rely on indirectly, was not part of Quebec civil law. The majority of the Court noted that Churchill Falls was seeking to use the concepts of good faith and equity in a manner that goes beyond the limits of the doctrine of unforeseeability even though the Quebec legislature has refused to incorporate that doctrine into the province’s civil law. They added that, “If unforeseeability itself has been rejected, a protection analogous to it that would be linked only to changes in circumstances without regard for the core conditions of the doctrine as recognized in other civil law jurisdictions could not become the rule in Quebec law.” The majority of the Court rejected equity as a basis for a possible obligation to renegotiate the price, because “its effect would then be to indirectly introduce either lesion or unforeseeability into our law in every case.” They added that the equity provided in article 1434 as a source of implied obligations “is not so malleable that it can be detached from the will of the parties and their common intention as revealed in and established by a thorough analysis of the whole of the relevant evidence.” In fact, the evidence revealed that both parties to the contract were experienced, and they negotiated its clauses at length and intended one of them to bear the risk of fluctuations in electricity prices. The majority of the Court also rejected the argument of good faith as a basis for a possible obligation to renegotiate the price. Their analysis in this regard is based on the following two assumptions, which clarify the concept of good faith. Firstly, according to them, good faith is a standard associated with the parties’ conduct; it cannot be used to impose obligations that are completely unrelated to their conduct. In other words, for good faith to be invoked with success, unreasonable conduct by one of the parties must be shown. In this case, Hydro-Québec did nothing but demand the performance of the contract as it had been agreed upon. The second assumption is that good faith serves to maintain the relevance of the prestations that form the basis of the contract even if the words of the contract do not specifically prohibit the parties from doing something that would impede its fulfilment. The majority of the Court adds that, “if the main prestations of a contract are renegotiated and modified, they will rarely remain relevant.” In other words, “Because good faith takes its form from the terms of the contract, it cannot serve to undermine the contract’s paradigm. But in the view of the Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, that is exactly what CFLCo is arguing for in this case: CFLCo is demanding that Hydro-Québec renounce its access to a source of electricity production at a stable cost, that is, to the principal benefit it derives from the Contract.” Commentary This decision sheds a very useful light on the relationship between good faith and the contents or scheme of a contract. Closing the door to the general application of the doctrine of unforeseeability, the Court instead favoured the binding force of contracts and contractual stability. Contrary to the claims of Churchill Falls, the obligation to act in good faith cannot oblige the parties to renegotiate the fundamental terms of the contract, but aims rather to enable the performance of the prestations under the contract. However, although in principle it is legitimate to demand adherence to a contract, a party’s rigidity must not reach the point of abuse of rights, in which case it could be sanctioned for its conduct and held responsible if there is resulting damage. Moreover, various judicial instruments can help palliate the unforeseeable. If the unforeseen situation is severe enough to be qualified as superior force under the Civil Code, in that it prevents a party to the contract from fulfilling its obligations, said party could be released from them. The parties are also free to define the concept of superior force in their relationship through a contractual clause. Similarly, the parties can limit the risks associated with the unforeseeable in long-term contracts through adjustment clauses, which can take several forms (indexing clauses, revaluation clauses, renegotiation clauses, etc.). This could be especially useful in a fixed-price contract where the risks are usually attributed to the service provider ahead of time. However, as the matter of Churchill Falls clearly shows, a party that has agreed by contract to assume a risk without providing for such adjustment mechanisms will have to assume the consequences.  

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  1. The Best Lawyers in Canada 2023 recognize 67 lawyers of Lavery

    Lavery is pleased to announce that 67 of its lawyers have been recognized as leaders in their respective fields of expertise by The Best Lawyers in Canada 2023. The following lawyers also received the Lawyer of the Year award in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada: René Branchaud : Natural Resources Law Chantal Desjardins : Intellectual Property Law Bernard Larocque : Legal Malpractice Law Patrick A. Molinari : Health Care Law   Consult the complete list of Lavery's lawyers and their fields of expertise: Josianne Beaudry : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Mining Law Laurence Bich-Carrière : Class Action Litigation / Corporate and Commercial Litigation / Product Liability Law Dominic Boivert : Insurance Law (Ones To Watch) Luc R. Borduas : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Daniel Bouchard : Environmental Law Laurence Bourgeois-Hatto : Workers' Compensation Law René Branchaud : Mining Law / Natural Resources Law / Securities Law Étienne Brassard : Equipment Finance Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Real Estate Law Jules Brière : Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice / Administrative and Public Law / Health Care Law Myriam Brixi : Class Action Litigation Benoit Brouillette : Labour and Employment Law Richard Burgos : Mergers and Acquisitions Law / Corporate Law Marie-Claude Cantin : Insurance Law / Construction Law Brittany Carson : Labour and Employment Law Eugene Czolij : Corporate and Commercial Litigation France Camille De Mers : Mergers and Acquisitions Law (Ones To Watch) Chantal Desjardins : Intellectual Property Law Jean-Sébastien Desroches : Corporate Law / Mergers and Acquisitions Law Raymond Doray : Privacy and Data Security Law / Administrative and Public Law / Defamation and Media Law Christian Dumoulin : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Alain Y. Dussault : Intellectual Property Law Isabelle Duval : Family Law Chloé Fauchon : Municipal Law (Ones To Watch) Philippe Frère : Administrative and Public Law Simon Gagné : Labour and Employment Law Nicolas Gagnon : Construction Law Richard Gaudreault : Labour and Employment Law Danielle Gauthier : Labour and Employment Law Julie Gauvreau : Intellectual Property Law Michel Gélinas : Labour and Employment Law Caroline Harnois : Family Law / Family Law Mediation / Trusts and Estates Marie-Josée Hétu : Labour and Employment Law Alain Heyne : Banking and Finance Law Édith Jacques : Energy Law / Corporate Law Pierre Marc Johnson, Ad. E.  : International Arbitration Marie-Hélène Jolicoeur : Labour and Employment Law Isabelle Jomphe : Intellectual Property Law Guillaume Laberge : Administrative and Public Law Jonathan Lacoste-Jobin : Insurance Law Awatif Lakhdar : Family Law Bernard Larocque : Professional Malpractice Law / Class Action Litigation / Insurance Law / Legal Malpractice Law Myriam Lavallée : Labour and Employment Law Guy Lavoie : Labour and Employment Law / Workers' Compensation Law Jean Legault : Banking and Finance Law / Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law Carl Lessard : Workers' Compensation Law / Labour and Employment Law Josiane L'Heureux : Labour and Employment Law Despina Mandilaras : Construction Law / Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Hugh Mansfield : Intellectual Property Law Zeïneb Mellouli : Labour and Employment Law Patrick A. Molinari : Health Care Law André Paquette : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Luc Pariseau : Tax Law Ariane Pasquier : Labour and Employment Law Jacques Paul-Hus : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Hubert Pepin : Labour and Employment Law Martin Pichette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law Élisabeth Pinard : Family Law François Renaud : Banking and Finance Law / Structured Finance Law Judith Rochette : Insurance Law / Professional Malpractice Law Ian Rose FCIArb : Director and Officer Liability Practice / Insurance Law Chantal Saint-Onge : Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Ones To Watch) Éric Thibaudeau : Workers' Compensation Law André Vautour : Corporate Governance Practice / Corporate Law / Information Technology Law / Intellectual Property Law / Technology Law Bruno Verdon : Corporate and Commercial Litigation Sébastien Vézina : Mergers and Acquisitions Law Yanick Vlasak : Corporate and Commercial Litigation Jonathan Warin : Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law These recognitions are further demonstration of the expertise and quality of legal services that characterize Lavery’s professionals.

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  2. Myriam Brixi named one of Canada’s Top 100 Women in Litigation 2022 by Benchmark Litigation

    Lavery is pleased to announce that Benchmark Litigation has recognized Myriam Brixi in its 2022 edition of Canada’s Top 100 Women in Litigation. The prestigious Benchmark Litigation recognizes the top 100 women lawyers in Canada who have distinguished themselves by participating in some of the most significant litigation cases in recent years and by their reputation among their peers and clients. Myriam Brixi is a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. She focuses her practice primarily in the areas of class actions, product liability, consumer law, franchising and distribution and insurance law. She has participated in complex class actions raising important legal issues, including a wide range of multi-jurisdictional class actions. Ms. Brixi is also actively involved in her community. In particular, she was appointed by the Barreau du Québec to sit on the Access to Justice Committee. She is Chair of the Executive Committee of the Class Action Section and Co-Chair of the Citizenship and Charters Committee, both of the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division, and she sits on the Board of Directors of Factry. Congratulations to Myriam for this distinction that is a testament to her talent and expertise.

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  3. The Court of Appeal upholds the dismissal of the class action against Bel-Air Laurentien Aviation

    The Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal of the class action against our client Bel-Air Laurentien Aviation. In a lengthy judgment rendered in 2019, the Superior Court had found no fault on the part of Bel-Air Laurentien Aviation and no neighborhood disturbance to speak of. The Court of Appeal upheld this conclusion. Myriam Brixi and Laurence Bich-Carrière, who led the defence of the appeal, are relieved for their client who was facing a class action estimated at several tens of millions of dollars. This case was named one of the cases to watch in 2018 by l'Actualité magazine.

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  4. Myriam Brixi one of Lexpert’s Rising Stars: Leading lawyers under 40

    Lavery is pleased to announce that Myriam Brixi was recognized by Lexpert as a Rising Stars Leading Lawyers Under 40 on November 25. This prestigious distinction honours lawyers under 40 who stand out in the legal profession. The winners are selected by a jury of law firm managing partners and corporate legal executives based on rigorously studied criteria such as leadership, outstanding professional achievements and service to clients. As a litigation partner, Myriam's practice focuses primarily on class actions, product liability, consumer law and insurance law. Myriam has been involved in complex class actions raising important legal issues. Her experience in these actions has allowed her to develop a thorough understanding of the procedural and strategic aspects of class actions in Canada. Myriam is also actively involved in the community. She was appointed by the Quebec Bar to sit on the Access to Justice Committee. She is Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Class Action Section, Co-Chair of the Citizenship and Charters Committee of the Quebec Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and sits on the Board of Directors of the Factry. Congratulations to Myriam for this recognition of her talent and expertise. For more information, we invite you to read the following article.

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