Lawsuit Unsuccessful – Not Enough Defendants

We are still having a look at the “buildable lot” case, Drolet v. Re/Max Riverview (2016).

This matter started out with the Buyer, Drolet having purchased a property for $23,000, and later being able to prove a further $17,979.53, in consequential losses, that’s $40,979.53 plus Court costs.

That would be a matter to be tried in the Superior Court of Justice Trial Division. The jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court goes up to $25,000.00.

The Small Claims Court has a simplified procedure; Superior Court is somewhat more costly. There are discoveries which can take considerable time and expense.

In this case, the Township paid $25,000.00 and bought the property. That left the consequential losses largely intact, but without compensation.

This lawsuit did not include the Township. The Township was “out”. The same theory of false representations and negligent statements could have been made against the Township. Presumably, that was the reason that they bought the property. Left with a claim of less than $25,000, the Plaintiff could now sue for his losses in the Small Claims Court.

However, dropping the key Defendant proved to be problematic. Here, the action was simply against the Agent. Likely, the Trial Judge would have awarded Judgment against the Township for the full $41,000.00. But, the Township was not there, so the case was simply dismissed as against the only remaining Defendant.

While it might have seemed attractive at first, 1) get $25,000.00, 2) drop one Defendant and 3) sue for the balance in Small Claims Court, this proposition nevertheless proved costly for the Buyer. It just wasn’t worth it. The case that was left over, was just far too risky.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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