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Contempt - Dismissal of Action for Non-payment of Cost Awards

Lee v. McGhee (Ont CA, 2019)

In this case the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court when they allowed an action to be dismissed for the plaintiff's disregard of cost awards against him:
[1] The appellant commenced an action against the respondents, and others, as a result of his removal from a KISS concert held in Ottawa. The appellant appeals the October 30, 2018 order of the motion judge, dismissing his action against the respondents pursuant to rr. 57.03(2) and 60.12 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194, on the basis that he had not abided by the Rules of Civil Procedure and had failed to pay outstanding costs awards.

[2] The appellant has not satisfied us that there is any basis for this court to interfere with the order of the motion judge.

[3] We reject the appellant’s assertion that the motion judge’s dismissal of his action against the respondents was unreasonable. She found that the “inescapable conclusion from the evidence in the record is that [the appellant] chose to ignore the costs orders”. She found that the interests of justice overrode the general principle that a matter should be heard on its merits and required the dismissal of the appellant’s claim against the respondents. The motion judge specifically considered the fact that the appellant is a self-represented litigant, and, as such, entitled to some accommodation and assistance. But she found that he had received “plenty”, and was not entitled to abuse the system or the parties opposite, nor ignore the rules and orders of the court, without fear of any consequence. The motion judge balanced the competing interests and considered all relevant factors. There is no basis for this court to interfere with the exercise of her discretion to dismiss the appellant’s claim against the respondents.

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