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  • When a tree falls: The Supreme Court of Canada confirms the large and liberal interpretation that must be given to Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Act

    In a unanimous decision rendered on June 22nd, the Supreme Court of Canada confirms the principles previously established by the Court of Appeal: Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Act ("Act") must be given a large and liberal interpretation. In this case, the Court confirms that the mere use of a vehicle as a means of transportation will be sufficient for the Act to apply even if the vehicle is not the cause of the accident.

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  • A decision “of interest” from the Court of Appeal of Québec

    The notion of insurable interest is fundamental to insurance law as it is at the very heart of the validity of this contract. The lack of insurable interest leads to the nullity of the insurance policy and justifies the insurer’s refusal to indemnify its insured. In a decision rendered on March 2, 2012, the Court of Appeal upheld a judgment of the Superior Court, where an insurer refused to indemnify the insured, raising its lack of interest in the property. The Court held that a debtor had sufficient interest to insure the property subject to an instalment sales contract.

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  • What if what was published on Facebook was admissible as evidence?

    The advent of social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Diaspora, Photobucket, Twitter, You Tube and others has brought significant changes to social relationships. In Quebec alone, more than 3,250,000 persons have a profile on Facebook. In 2010, the use of social media intensified in Quebec; indeed, more than three quarters of Netsurfers in Quebec visited at least one social medium or contributed to its content. A census showed that, in 2010, 40% of Quebecers had a profile on a social network. In addition, the frequency of visits to social networks varies according to age. More than 56% of persons aged between 18 and 34 visit social networks daily as compared to 52% of those aged 35 to 44, 38% of those aged 45 to 54 and 23% of those aged 55 to 64.

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  • The Superior Court rules – The immunity is upsheld – to be continued...

    The Fire Safety Act came into force on September 1, 2000. Its purpose is to implement organizational arrangements pertaining to fire safety within the regional county municipalities and major urban centres in Quebec. Section 8 of the Act requires them to establish a fire safety cover plan which must then be approved by the Minister of Public Security.

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  • Sexual abuse and prescription: The Supreme Court intervenes in an action governed by Quebec law

    On October 29, 2010, the Supreme Court rendered a very brief judgment in the case of Christensen v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Québec and ordered the file be remanded to the Superior Court to assess the evidence in order to determine whether the civil liability action brought in the context of a sexual assault that took place more than 25 years earlier, should be dismissed on the grounds that it was prescribed.

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  • Exclusions of work performed by the insured new interpretation and duty to defend

    On September 23, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada issued an unanimous judgment in the case of Progressive Homes Ltd. v. Lombard General Insurance Co. of Canada, reversing two lower Court judgments of British Columbia which had concluded that the insurer, Lombard, had no duty to defend the general contractor Progressive Homes, against a claim for defects and damages caused by water infiltration in four buildings built by it.

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  • The Mont Saint-Sauveur Case: Is the Court of Appeal Thinking Outside the Box in the Assessment of Damages?

    On August 25th, the Court of Appeal, for the reasons of Justice Nicholas Kasirer, rendered a significant decision with regard to the duty of care required from ski instructors and the assessment of damages awarded to a victim who developed a serious neurological disorder resulting from a ski accident. In their capacity as tutors of their child (referred to as “X” in the judgment), as well as in their personal capacity, Plaintiffs claimed damages for approximately $3.8M against Les Stations de la vallée de Saint-Sauveur Inc. and Mont Saint-Sauveur International (hereinafter “MSSI”) pursuant to the ski accident that their child suffered. 

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  • Hidden Defect, reduction in the purchase price and liability insurance coverage

    On June 2, 2010, the Quebec Court of Appeal confirmed the Superior Court’s decision, which dismissed the insured’s action in warranty against his liability insurer under his home owner’s policy. The insured alleged that the purchasers’ claim for reducing the purchase price due to a hidden defect was covered under the liability insurance policy.

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  • Liability Insurance and Reconstituted Families: Where Does the Court of Appeal Stand?

    In August 2009, the Court of Appeal issued a judgment in which it ruled on the following interesting practical issues relating to liability insurance: What is the appropriate procedural vehicle for a liability insurer to exercise recourse against another insurer in situations where there is overlapping insurance? Does the exception respecting members of the household of the insured (Article 2474 C.C.Q.) apply in respect of the liability insurer of the person who is liable for the damage and is a “member of the household of the insured”? What intervention should be given to the expression “living under the same roof as the insured”?

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  • The Court of Appeal authorizes an insurer to institute a subrogatory recourse as a preventive measure

    On May 14, 2009, the Court of Appeal put an end to a controversy in the case law on the interpretation by Article 216 C.C.P. concerning the procedural means available to the insurer to protect its subrogation rights. The Court considered the following question: “Can an insurer, who is being sued by its insured for refusing to pay the indemnity, force the intervention of a third party who is potentially liable for the loss?” After thoroughly reviewing the controversial case law on the issue, the Court answered the question in the affirmative, and allowed the insurer to implead the potentially liable third party in the litigation between the insurer and its insured.

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