Court of Appeal of Quebec

Option Consommateurs c. Banque Amex du Canada

March 01, 2018

500-09-026655-175 et 200-09-009456-176

Kasirer, St-Pierre, Vauclair

Appeals from judgments of the Superior Court dismissing applications for approval of settlement agreements, authorization to amend the class definitions, and approval of the professional fees payable to counsel. Dismissed.

The applications concern the appellant and four of the numerous Canadian banks and financial institutions against whom class actions were instituted in connection with alleged violations of various provisions of the Consumer Protection Act (CQLR, c. P-40.1).

In a context where counsel managed the files and presented the arguments regarding professional fees as a whole, as if it were all one mandate or file, it was not only justified but essential to take into account the fees already received in connection with the previous settlement agreements. The conclusion that the fees are neither fair nor reasonable required that the applications to approve the transactions be dismissed because, in each case, these fees could not be severed from the agreements, the terms of which the parties refused to modify, even though they were asked to do so. The trial judges could not grant applications to amend the class definitions in such a way as to target individuals who could not be class members. The conclusion that the absence of compensation paid to the class members justified dismissing the application to approve the transaction was not an abusive or unreasonable exercise of the Court’s discretion. Given that the two judgments of first instance were rendered in related files subject to a joint hearing, there was nothing precluding one of the trial judges from writing in his judgment that he agreed with and adopted, in whole or in part, the relevant views expressed by his colleague.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
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