Bell ExpressVu v. Torroni, 2009 ONCA 85

JudgeRosenberg, Sharpe and Blair, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ontario)
Case DateJanuary 30, 2009
JurisdictionOntario
Citations2009 ONCA 85;304 DLR (4th) 431;246 OAC 212;[2009] OJ No 356 (QL);(2009), 246 O.A.C. 212 (CA);94 OR (3d) 614;[2009] CarswellOnt 416

Bell ExpressVu v. Torroni (2009), 246 O.A.C. 212 (CA)

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2009] O.A.C. TBEd. FE.010

Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership (plaintiff/respondent) v. Rudolfo Torroni a.k.a. Rudy Torroni a.k.a Rodolfo Torroni a.k.a. Rodolro Torroni, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.angelpride.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.armsecuritysolutions.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.devilscrypt.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.devilsorbit.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.dssword.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.extremen2.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.globalpaymentonline.net, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.internationalhosting.info, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.outerlimitsssatellitesupplies.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.overseashostingonline.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.org, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.net, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.info, 1584522 Ontario Ltd., Mena Torroni, Antonietta Salmona, Chris Mooney, Marco Biot, Outer Limits Satellite Supplies Inc., Mark Philip Wardinger, Jeremy Corkery , James Michael Corkery, Andreas Zoudis, 1578992 Ontario Ltd., 1578992 Ontario Ltd. c.o.b. as Blue Screen Computer Services, Jonathon Dick, Matthew Hallewick, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as Skylink Electronics, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as www.disharm.com, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as www.dishteam.com, Michael Pomponio, Steve Pomponio, Steve Pomponio c.o.b. as Sky Link Electronics, Al Jaffri, Al Jaffri c.o.b. as Skylink Electronics, Mark Strong, Mark Strong c.o.b. as www.dishteam.com, John Doe, Jane Doe and other persons unknown who have conspired with the named defendants (defendants/appellant, Jeremy Corkery)

(C48604)

Echostar Satellite LLC, Echostar Technologies Corporation, and Nagrastar LLC (plaintiffs/respondents) v. Rudolfo Torroni a.k.a. Rudy Torroni a.k.a. Rodolfo Torroni a.k.a. Rodolro Torroni, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.angelpride.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.armsecuritysolutions.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.devilscrypt.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.devilsorbit.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.dssword.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.extremen2.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.globalpaymentonline.net, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.internationalhosting.info, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.outerlimitsssatellitesupplies.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.overseashostingonline.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.com, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.org, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.net, Rudolfo Torroni c.o.b. as www.spacetwister.info, 1584522 Ontario Ltd., Mena Torroni, Antonietta Salmona, Chris Mooney, Marco Biot, Outer Limits Satellite Supplies Inc., Mark Philip Wardinger, Jeremy Corkery , James Michael Corkery, Andreas Zoudis, 1578992 Ontario Ltd., 1578992 Ontario Ltd. c.o.b. as Blue Screen Computer Services, Jonathon Dick, Matthew Hallewick, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as Skylink Electronics, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as www.disharm.com, Matthew Hallewick c.o.b. as www.dishteam.com, Michael Pomponio, Steve Pomponio, Steve Pomponio c.o.b. as Sky Link Electronics, Al Jaffri, Al Jaffri c.o.b. as Skylink Electronics, Mark Strong, Mark Strong c.o.b. as www.dishteam.com, John Doe, Jane Doe and other persons unknown who have conspired with the named defendants (defendants/appellant, Jeremy Corkery)

(C48603; 2009 ONCA 85)

Indexed As: Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership v. Torroni et al.

Ontario Court of Appeal

Rosenberg, Sharpe and Blair, JJ.A.

January 30, 2009.

Summary:

The plaintiffs in two actions alleged that the defendants were illegally facilitating unauthorized access to their encrypted satellite television programming signals. They obtained an Anton Piller order and an interlocutory injunction. The Anton Piller order was executed at the defendant Corkery's place of business and home and several computer hard drives were copied onto a computer hard drive. The hard drive malfunctioned. The plaintiffs obtained orders permitting them to recopy the information (the November 16 orders). They alleged that Corkery deliberately failed to comply with the November 16 orders. The plaintiffs brought a motion for contempt and a motion to strike Corkery's statements of defence.

The Ontario Superior Court found Corkery in contempt and struck his statements of defence. Corkery appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, Sharpe, J.A., dissenting, allowed the appeal and set aside the orders below.

Contempt - Topic 683

What constitutes contempt - Judgments and orders - Requirement of clear and unambiguous order - The plaintiffs in two actions alleged that the defendants were illegally facilitating unauthorized access to their encrypted satellite television programming signals - They obtained an Anton Piller order - The plaintiffs copied several of Corkery's computer hard drives onto a separate hard drive - The hard drive malfunctioned - The plaintiffs obtained orders permitting them to recopy the information (the November 16 orders) - The plaintiffs alleged that Corkery deliberately failed to comply with the November 16 orders - A motions judge found Corkery in contempt of the orders - The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed Corkery's appeal and set aside the contempt order - The motions judge's reasons were "exceedingly brief" - A motion judge had to at a minimum turn his or her mind to the established three-prong test and apply the elements of the test properly - Here, the motions judge did not do so - He focused solely on the question of deliberate and wilful disobedience of the orders - He did not appear to have considered whether the terms of the order were clear and unequivocal and whether the record established a finding of contempt beyond a reasonable doubt - See paragraphs 17 to 31.

Contempt - Topic 5083

Practice - Evidence and proof - Burden of proof - [See Contempt - Topic 683 ].

Practice - Topic 2218

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Onus of proof - A motions judge dismissed Corkery's statement of defence in two related actions on three grounds: Corkery's failure to pay the costs of two prior orders, his contemptuous conduct in disobeying those orders and the fact that it was not apparent that he had a strong defence on the merits - The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed Corkery's appeal and set aside the order striking the defences - The motions judge concluded that "no reason [was] shown why his defence should not be struck." - The court held that this approach wrongly transferred the onus on the motion to strike to Corkery - It was the plaintiffs who had to demonstrate that Corkery did not have a strong defence on the merits or to show why his defence should not be struck - Further, striking out a defence was a severe remedy - It should not generally be a remedy of first resort in circumstances such as this, without at least providing the defaulting defendant with an opportunity to cure the default - Corkery was afforded no such opportunity - Also, it would have been difficult for the motions judge to access the merits of Corkery's defence given that neither the statements of claim nor defence were before him - See paragraphs 32 to 37.

Practice - Topic 2230

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Failure to disclose a cause of action or defence - [See Practice - Topic 2218 ].

Practice - Topic 2237

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Failure to obey court order - [See Practice - Topic 2218 ].

Cases Noticed:

Pro Swing Inc. v. Elta Golf Inc., [2006] 2 S.C.R. 612; 354 N.R. 201; 218 O.A.C. 339, refd to. [para. 20].

Vidéotron Ltée et Premier Choix: TVEC Inc. v. Industries Microlec Produits Electroniques Inc. et al., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 1065; 141 N.R. 281; 50 Q.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 20].

Korea Data Systems Co. v. Chiang, 2009 ONCA 3, refd to. [para. 20].

Dare Foods (Biscuit Division) Ltd. v. Gill, [1973] 1 O.R. 637 (H.C.), refd to. [para. 20].

Toronto Transit Commission v. Ryan et al. (1998), 50 O.T.C. 46; 37 O.R.(3d) 266 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 20].

Prescott-Russell Services for Children and Adults v. G. (N.) et al. - see Services aux enfants et adultes de Prescott-Russell v. N.G. et al.

Services aux enfants et adultes de Prescott-Russell v. N.G. et al. (2006), 214 O.A.C. 146; 82 O.R.(3d) 686 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 21].

Hobbs v. Hobbs (2008), 240 O.A.C. 202; 54 R.F.L.(6th) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 22].

Jaskhs Enterprises Inc. et al. v. Indus Corp. et al., [2004] O.T.C. 859 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 28].

F.H. v. McDougall (2008), 380 N.R. 82; 260 B.C.A.C. 74; 439 W.A.C. 74; 2008 SCC 53, refd to. [para. 63].

R. v. Burns (R.H.), [1994] 1 S.C.R. 656; 165 N.R. 374; 42 B.C.A.C. 161; 67 W.A.C. 161; 89 C.C.C.(3d) 193, refd to. [para. 63].

Counsel:

Hari S. Nesathurai, for the appellant, Jeremy Corkery;

Denise Bambrough, for the respondents, Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership, EchoStar Satellite LLC, EchoStar Technologies Corporation, and Nagrastar LLC.

This appeal was heard before Rosenberg, Sharpe and Blair, JJ.A., of the Ontario Court of Appeal. The judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on January 30, 2009, and the following opinions were filed:

Blair, J.A. (Rosenberg, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 39;

Sharpe, J.A. (dissenting) - see paragraphs 40 to 66.

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