Geophysical v. Can. (A.G.), 2014 NSCA 14

Judge:Saunders, Oland and Bryson, JJ.A.
Court:Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
Case Date:February 05, 2014
Jurisdiction:Nova Scotia
Citations:2014 NSCA 14;(2014), 340 N.S.R.(2d) 304 (CA)
 
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Geophysical v. Can. (A.G.) (2014), 340 N.S.R.(2d) 304 (CA);

    1077 A.P.R. 304

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2014] N.S.R.(2d) TBEd. FE.013

Geophysical Service Incorporated (appellant) v. Attorney General of Canada (respondent)

(CA 418566; 2014 NSCA 14)

Indexed As: Geophysical Service Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General)

Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

Saunders, Oland and Bryson, JJ.A.

February 7, 2014.

Summary:

Canada awarded a seismic acquisition contract off the coast of Labrador to Fugro Jacques Geophysical, which hired an Italian-flagged ship to do the work. Geophysical Service Inc. (Geophysical) owned the only Canadian-flagged ship that was capable of doing the contract work. Geophysical sued Canada, alleging that it had unlawfully interfered with Geophysical's economic relations. Canada moved for summary dismissal of the action.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at (2013), 332 N.S.R.(2d) 311; 1052 A.P.R. 311, granted the motion. Geophysical appealed.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, reinstating the statement of claim.

Crown - Topic 1551

Torts by and against Crown - Interference with economic relations - General - Canada awarded a seismic acquisition contract off the coast of Labrador to Fugro Jacques Geophysical, which hired an Italian-flagged ship to do the work - Geophysical Service Inc. (Geophysical) owned the only Canadian-flagged ship that was capable of doing the contract work - Geophysical sued Canada, alleging that it had unlawfully interfered with Geophysical's economic relations - Canada's motion for summary dismissal of the action as disclosing no reasonable cause of action was granted on the basis that there was no valid business relationship between Geophysical and Fugro - The first element of the tort required the existence of a valid business relationship or business expectancy between the plaintiff and another party - At most, Geophysical and Fugro were general competitors within the same industry - The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal allowed Geophysical's appeal, reinstating the statement of claim - Paragraph 93 of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Bram Enterprises Ltd. et al. v. A.I. Enterprises Ltd. et al. (2014) had clarified the law - The existence of a valid business relationship between the plaintiff and the third party was not an essential element of the unlawful means tort that had to be pled - The decision below turned on that one element that had been overtaken by the recent jurisprudence - In the result, the motions judge erred in law.

Torts - Topic 5023

Interference with economic relations - Elements of liability - Use of unlawful means - [See Crown - Topic 1551 ].

Cases Noticed:

Bram Enterprises Ltd. et al. v. A.I. Enterprises Ltd. et al. (2012), 387 N.B.R.(2d) 215; 1001 A.P.R. 215; 2012 NBCA 33, affd. (2014), 453 N.R. 273; 416 N.B.R.(2d) 1; 1079 A.P.R. 1; 2014 SCC 12, appld. [para. 1].

Counsel:

A. William Moreira, Q.C., and Scott R. Campbell, for the appellant;

Patricia MacPhee, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard at Halifax, N.S., on February 5, 2014, by Saunders, Oland and Bryson, JJ.A., of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. On February 7, 2014, Oland, J.A., delivered the following reasons for judgment for the court.

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