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Civil Procedure - Default Judgments - Setting Aside

Mountain View Farms Ltd. v McQueen (Ont CA, 2014)

In this case the court re-stated the law on setting aside default judgments as follows:
[47] The court’s ultimate task on a motion to set aside a default judgment is to determine whether the interests of justice favour granting the order. The approach to be taken to this determination has been considered numerous times by this court. The following draws heavily on the summary of the principles in those cases by Perell J. in Watkins v. Sosnowski, 2012 ONSC 3836 (CanLII), 2012 ONSC 3836, at paras. 19-20 and 23-24.

[48] The court must consider the following three factors:
(a) whether the motion was brought promptly after the defendant learned of the default judgment;

(b) whether there is a plausible excuse or explanation for the defendant’s default in complying with the Rules; and

(c) whether the facts establish that the defendant has an arguable defence on the merits.
[49] To this list, I would add the following two factors the court should have regard to, as set out in Peterbilt of Ontario Inc. v. 1565627 Ontario Ltd. 2007 ONCA 333 (CanLII), 2007 ONCA 333, 87 O.R. (3d) 479 (C.A.), at para. 2:
(d) the potential prejudice to the moving party should the motion be dismissed, and the potential prejudice to the respondent should the motion be allowed; and

(e) the effect of any order the court might make on the overall integrity of the administration of justice.
[50] These factors are not to be treated as rigid rules; the court must consider the particular circumstances of each case to decide whether it is just to relieve the defendant from the consequences of his or her default.

[51] For instance, the presence of an arguable defence on the merits may justify the court exercising its discretion to set aside the default judgment, even if the other factors are unsatisfied in whole or in part. In showing a defence on the merits, the defendant need not show that the defence will inevitably succeed. The defendant must show that his or her defence has an air of reality.

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