Judge certifies class action against General Motors, Cassels Brock

The dealers also named Cassels Brock & Blackwell as a defendant in the action, alleging the law firm was in a conflict of interest. The lawsuit alleges that at the same time Cassels was advising dealers of their legal rights during the wind-down, the firm was also representing the federal government during GM’s bailout negotiations.

Financial Post
March 2, 2011

Judge certifies class action against General Motors, Cassels Brock
Drew Hasselback

David_Sterns_Sotos.jpg

David Sterns of Sotos LLP Photo: Brett Gundlock/National Post

An Ontario judge has certified a $750-million class action law suit against General Motors of Canada and the law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP over the cancellation of dealerships during the automaker’s bailout.

Mr. Justice George Strathy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified the matter in a 69-page judgment dated Tuesday:

“Judicial economy will be promoted by the aggregation of the claims in a class, avoiding multiple trials and potential duplication of fact finding … I am satisfied that the common issues are capable of resolution in a fair, efficient and manageable way.”

More than 200 former GM dealers sued the automaker, arguing that it breached Ontario franchise law when the company decided to wind down a dealership agreement as part of the continent-wide restructuring.

The dealers also named Cassels Brock & Blackwell as a defendant in the action, alleging the law firm was in a conflict of interest. The lawsuit alleges that at the same time Cassels was advising dealers of their legal rights during the wind-down, the firm was also representing the federal government during GM’s bailout negotiations.

Trillium Motor World Ltd., a former GM dealer in Toronto, has been named as representative plaintiff in the action, which was filed by Sotos LLP.

In a news release, plaintiff counsel David Sterns said:

“The elimination of the dealers was a man-made disaster for hundreds of family-owned businesses forced to pay the price for GM’s financial problems. As a result of this decision, the dealers now have a chance to put the pieces back together and mount a recovery of their own.”

Drew Hasselback

http://business.financialpost.com/2011/03/02/judge-certifies-class-action-against-gm-canada-cassels-brock/


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