Saskatchewan – absent party bound by disputed settlement terms signed by authorized solicitor/agent

In Bakken v. Bakken, 2020 SKQB 127, Madam Justice Brenda R. Hildebrandt held defendant to a mediated settlement regarding sale of land, holding that defendant authorized counsel to attend as her solicitor/agent and consulting her by telephone during the mediation prior to counsel’s signature. Disagreement between the parties regarding the settlement lead to litigation to enforce purportedly unclear terms documented by the settlement.  Litigation, filed May 20, 2010, was resolved ten (10) years later by trial judgment on May 7, 2020.  Hildebrandt J.’s reasons explore possible, but unsuccessful, defenses to a breach of settlement claim, including frustration and three (3) types of contractual mistake: common mistake, unilateral mistake, mutual mistake.

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Saskatchewan – availability and final nature of partial discontinuance of claims in arbitration considered

In Poffenroth Agri Ltd. v Brown, 2020 SKCA 68, Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal held that a notice of discontinuance filed in a civil action was interlocutory, not final, in nature and required leave to appeal.  Observing the limited number of precedents, the Court referred to but distinguished the reasoning and result in Ontario First Nations (2008) Limited Partnership v. Aboriginal Affairs (Ontario), 2013 ONSC 7141 which considered whether an arbitral panel’s decision to accept a claimant’s partial withdrawal of its notice of arbitration was final or not and, if subject to appeal, permitted under Ontario’s Arbitration Act, 1991, SO 1991, c 17.

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Saskatchewan – legislation imposes mediation and stay of any proceedings upon application of farmer

In HCI Ventures Ltd. v. S.O.L. Acres, 2020 SKCA 24, Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal dismissed two (2) appeals stemming from application of the province’s Farm Debt Mediation Act, SC 1997, c 21 which imposes mediation between insolvent farmers and their creditors pending a stay of any proceedings.  “[D]esigned as a tool for farmers to work with creditors in order to keep the farming operation afloat during difficult financial times”, the mediation-and-stay applies to “any proceedings or any action, execution or other proceedings, judicial or extra-judicial, for the recovery of a debt, the realization of any security or the taking of any property of the farmer”.

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Saskatchewan – court approves arbitral parties’ Pierringer agreement in litigation against third party

Upon application, Madam Justice Brenda R. Hildebrandt in Rosetown (Town) v. Bridge Road Construction Ltd., 2020 SKQB 3 approved an agreement between two (2) arbitral/litigation parties T and BR to release BR from litigation involving a third party S which did not participate in that agreement.  The agreement, known as a Pierringer agreement, left S open to its proportionate share of responsibility in the litigation pursued by T.  Having examined the Pierringer agreement in light of its impact on S, Hildebrandt J. approved its application and amendments to the pleadings in court to implement it.

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Saskatchewan – referral to statutory arbitration requires a dispute between parties subject to legislation

In Antoniadou v. Saskatchewan Government Insurance, 2020 SKCA 20, Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal reiterated a basic premise in dispute resolution that a dispute must exist between parties subject to the dispute resolution, whether by statute or otherwise.  Though the dispute resolution involved naming an umpire under a statutory scheme, the Court’s reason apply equally to commercial arbitration and remind parties that not all disagreements over a set of facts falls within the scope of the dispute resolution.

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