Hunter v Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2013 ONSC 6638 (CanLII)

The plaintiff (Hunter) claims that he is entitled to punitive and aggravated damages from the OSPCA for trespass to land and chattels, conversion, negligent investigation, and as a remedy for alleged section 8 Charter breaches. He also seeks reimbursement for out of pocket expenses incurred in 2009 when the OSPCA removed his livestock and laid charges against him under the OSPCA Act.

The OSPCA brings a cross-motion asserting that the plaintiff failed to answer questions during examination for discovery about his knowledge, information and belief with respect to issues that are relevant and material to matters in issue in the action; and that plaintiff’s counsel improperly intervened and improperly refused questions.

Rule 31.06(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a person being examined for discovery shall answer any proper question relevant to any matter in issue. It further provides that no question may be objected to on the ground that: … (b) The question constitutes cross-examination, unless the question is directed solely to the credibility of the witness.

Here, plaintiff’s counsel has set out the plaintiff’s legal positions. Asking the plaintiff for his personal knowledge information and belief is not fact-seeking, rather they are questions devoted solely to Mr. Hunter’s credibility. The defendant’s motion is denied on all contested refusals.

With regard to the plaintiff’s refusal motion, the plaintiff seeks: copies of the OSPCA training manual and other documents; a copy of written complaints about the defendant; an order obliging the OSPCA to articulate the authority relied on for entry to the plaintiff’s property; the name and contact information of a person who accompanied the defendant; confirmation whether or not board members are in consultation with animal rights organizations; and, lastly, to amend his reply.

Leave is granted to amend the plaintiff’s pleading. The OSPCA documents, written complaints, and information about the person who accompanied the defendant are to be produced, and the OSPCA is required to articulate the authority relied upon. However, the plaintiff’s request for confirmation on whether board members are in consultation with animal rights organizations is found irrelevant and denied.

Source: Case Law

Jurisdiction: Ontario

Topics: animal rights organizationsauthoritybreachCanadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsChartercredibilitycross-motiondamagesexamination for discoveryimproperly answered questionsinterpretationlivestockmotionOSPCAOSPCA Actrefusals motionRules of Civil Proceduresection 8

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