As carriage battles become common, more appellate guidance needed
Toronto class action lawyer Brian Radnoff says the trend of experienced class action law firms teaming up on claims makes appellate guidance on carriage battles all the more pressing.
Radnoff makes his comments in Law Times in connection with a recent carriage battle to lead the multibillion-dollar class action claim against Barrick Gold Corp.
The legal publication reports that in early December, “Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba awarded carriage of the Barrick class action to a group of law firms led by Toronto’s Rochon Genova LLP and also including Rosen Naster LLP and Saskatchewan-based Merchant Law Group.
“However, just 12 days later on Dec. 23, Ontario Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer granted the losing coalition of law firms leave to appeal Belobaba’s decision at the Divisional Court. That group consists of four more class action heavyweights: Koskie Minsky LLP, Sutts Strosberg LLP, Siskinds LLP, and Groia & Co.,” the article continues.
In Nordheimer’s decision he said Belobaba had “set up” an “asserted conflict” in previous case law centred on a judge’s ability to assess a claim’s likelihood of success when deciding a carriage motion, Law Times reports.
“Assuming that this conflict exists, it is important that it be resolved by the Divisional Court,” wrote Nordheimer in his decision.
The article also states that Nordheimer “raised concerns about the weight Belobaba gave to the relative experience of counsel in making his decision since it acknowledged the losing Koskie Minsky group had more experience in securities class actions than the successful Rochon Genova team.”
Radnoff, partner with Dickinson Wright, tells Law Times, “Both sides really know what they are doing, which makes it very difficult to say that either one lacks expertise,” he says.
“These carriage battles are getting more common, so I’d say the more direction the courts can give, the better,” he tells the publication.