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Overview

Lawson Lundell’s Class Actions Group has advised and represented both corporate defendants and plaintiffs’ groups. We have been actively involved in class action law since 1994, when British Columbia enacted class actions legislation. Our goal is to assist our clients in resolving class actions issues expeditiously, whether by alternate dispute resolution or, where possible, preliminary motions.

We frequently provide advice to our corporate and institutional clients concerning ways in which to avoid or minimize exposure to class action litigation. Since we have also acted for plaintiffs’ groups in class actions, we believe that we are able to give to our corporate clients very practical advice with respect to the strategy and tactics employed by the plaintiffs' bar, including issues relating to the use of the media.

Our members are on the “cutting edge” of class actions knowledge. In addition to our court work, we have chaired and participated in committees on class actions sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, and have been active in legislative reform initiatives involving class actions, including helping to set up the national class actions database. Our members have also taught courses on class actions and mass tort litigation at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, and have published many articles on the subject.

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

  • Best Lawyers in Canada recognizes our lawyers for Class Action Litigation
  • Benchmark Canada: The Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys recommends Lawson Lundell for Class Action Law in British Columbia

Experience

Experience

Examples of work done in class actions include:

  • Successfully represented BC Hydro in the defence of a proposed class action concerning the alleged impacts of exposure to emissions generated from smart meters on BC Hydro’s 1.9 million residential and commercial customers. (Davis v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, 2016 BCSC 1287)
  • Substantially successful in an appeal from the certification of a class proceeding resulting in the dismissal of 2 of the 3 causes of action alleged against our client. The class action related to a long term disability plan available to disabled union members whose benefits were reduced due to a deficit in the fund utilized by Trustees to provide the benefits. (Watt et al v. Health Sciences Association, 2016 BCCA 325)
  • Successfully defeated an application for certification of a proposed consumer class action relating to claims of unjust enrichment, unconscionability, criminal interest and deceptive practices with respect to violation notices issued for parking vehicles in private parking lots without a valid prepaid parking ticket. (Webster et al v. Robbins Parking Service Ltd. and Imperial Parking Canada Corporation, 2016 BCSC 1863)
  • Successfully represented a lender in the settlement of a class action concerning the alleged miscalculation of interest rates under adjustable residential mortgages. (Bell v. Merix Financial Inc., BCSC, Jan 20, 2015).
  • Successfully represented a forest company in the settlement of a class action concerning reductions to post-retirement health benefits. (Dyer v. Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd., BCSC, Sept 12, 2014)
  • Successfully defended a civil fraud and conspiracy action concerning the transfer of commercial real estate. (Clock Holdings Ltd. v. Braich, 2008 BCSC 1697, appeal dismissed 2009 BCCA 269, 2009 BCCA 437)
  • Represented the Government of Canada in tobacco class action and health care cost recovery actions. (B.C. v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., 2009 BCCA 540; Knight v. Imperial Tobacco Ltd., 2007 BCSC 964)
  • Successfully defended a major telecommunications company in an action concerning the administration of its pension plan. (Patrick v. Telus Communications Inc. 2008 BCCA 246, 2007 BCCA 200, and 2006 BCSC 854)
  • Represented a major BC utility in striking out a class action brought against it. (Strata Plan LMS 1816 v. BC Hydro, 2002 BCSC 485)
  • Representing an exporter of electricity from Canada in connection with the Canadian aspects of high-profile American regulatory proceedings and class actions arising out of the California Energy Crisis
  • A class action involving a claim for $500 million brought by shareholders alleging oppressive and fraudulent acts by various companies (including our client) and certain of their officers and directors; certification was denied
  • A class action in which a multi-million dollar claim has been brought against a major utility involving allegations of overcharging on rates (the action was struck on jurisdictional grounds after a six-day hearing, and the appeal was abandoned)
  • A major class proceeding which sought remedies based on trust, competition law and statutory authorization issues; the case was dismissed on a preliminary motion
  • A class proceeding involving the administration of a pension plan, which was stayed in favour of commercial arbitration
  • A class action involving complex pension issues in which the court largely adopted our client’s position on certification issues
  • A class action in which we defended two national trust companies concerning claims of breach of fiduciary duty
  • An intended class action involving the alleged privatization of a major utility

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