February 28, 2019
500-09-027593-185 & 500-09-027652-189
Pelletier, Mainville, Ruel
Appeals from a judgment of the Superior court imposing joint expert evidence. Allowed.
The judgment was rendered in the context of a class action against the appellants alleging that they were parties to a price-fixing conspiracy in violation of the Competition Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-34). The appellants argue that the judgment affects them prejudicially.
In procedure, the adversarial principle is central. The case management judge must assess, on a case-by-case basis, the parties’ compliance with their duty to “confine the case to what is necessary to resolve the dispute” (art. 19 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CQLR, c. C-25.01) (C.C.P.)). Seen from this perspective, the trial judge’s statement that [translation] “joint expert evidence is the rule under the new Code of Civil Procedure” could constitute an error of law.
Moreover, the judge could not impose joint expert evidence without analyzing the grounds that each of the parties put forward and without taking into consideration the guidelines in art. 158 C.C.P. In this case, respect for the proportionality principle did not clearly require reliance on joint expert evidence. Further, the judge did not consider the fact that the appellants had already retained an expert. Finally, the judge in no way considered the effect his decision was likely to have on the rights of the parties to present their cases. That is the most serious shortcoming in the judgment under appeal. The notion of [translation] “relevant market” plays a central role in the application of competition law. This is a complex debate involving the clash of theories regarding the relevant data and of potentially contradictory schools of thought. It is not a suitable situation for joint expert evidence.
*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca
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