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Striking Pleadings - R25.06 Plead Material Facts, Not Evidence

. Abbasbayli v. Fiera Foods Company

In Abbasbayli v. Fiera Foods Company (Ont CA, 2021) the Court of Appeal considered RCP R25.06 [plead material facts, not evidence]:
[48] Rule 25.06(1) provides that pleadings are to contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the party relies for the claim or defence, but not the evidence by which the facts are to be proved. As Perell J. noted in Jacobson v. Skurka, 2015 ONSC 1699, 125 O.R. (3d) 279, at paras. 43-44, the difference between pleading material facts and pleading evidence is a difference in degree and not of kind, and the prohibition against pleading evidence is designed to restrain the pleading of facts that are subordinate and that merely tend toward proving the truth of the material facts. As the same judge observed in Mirshahi v. Suleman, 2008 CanLII 64006 (Ont. S.C.), seeking to strike a pleading for pleading evidence can be a technical objection and pleading evidence may be closer to providing particulars, which in most cases is more helpful than harmful: at para. 21. Particulars are not evidence but “additional bits of information, or data, or detail, that flesh out the ‘material facts’”: see Janssen-Ortho Inc. v. Amgen Canada Inc. (2005), 2005 CanLII 19660 (ON CA), 256 D.L.R. (4th) 407 (Ont. C.A.), at paras. 89-90, citing Copland v. Commodore Business Machines Ltd. (1985), 1985 CanLII 2190 (ON SC), 52 O.R. (2d) 586 (S.C., Master), aff’d (1985), 52 O.R. (2d) 586 (note) (H.C.).

[49] Rule 25.11(b) provides that the court may strike out or expunge all or part of a pleading, with or without leave to amend, on the ground that the pleading is “scandalous, frivolous or vexatious”. A scandalous pleading includes those parts of a pleading that are irrelevant, argumentative or inserted for colour, and unfounded and inflammatory attacks on the integrity of a party: see George v. Harris, [2000] O.J. No. 1762 (S.C.), at para. 20. The focus in considering a challenge to a pleading under this rule is on the relevance of the pleading to a cause of action or defence. As this court recently noted in Huachangda Canada Holdings Inc. v. Solcz Group Inc., 2019 ONCA 649, 147 O.R. (3d) 644, at para. 15, “[a] fact that is relevant to a cause of action cannot be scandalous, frivolous or vexatious. On the other hand, a pleading that raises irrelevant or superfluous allegations that cannot affect the outcome of an action is scandalous, frivolous or vexatious, and should be struck out”.



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