Private international law and forum non conveniens is complicated. It is really too complicated to properly address is a simple blog. But, let’s consider this as wetting your appetite on the subject. So let me tell you what happened and let’s see if you come to the same conclusion as Justice Hoilett of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In Towne Meadow Development Corp. v. Israel Development Bank the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had to determine the appropriate location for litigating a dispute. A Canadian construction company hoped to build in Israel. The Israeli bank granted it credit. A shareholder of the company allegedly pledged company assets to secure the loan. The bank then called in its line of credit for repayment wanting access to the assets. The builder suggested that Ontario law applied and that the court case should be heard in Ontario. The Israeli bank disagreed.
Americans sued in Ontario are at risk. Sometimes these defendants ignore Ontario law suits because they have no assets in Canada. That may be unwise. Ontario courts, under certain circumstances, will assume jurisdiction and grant judgments against American defendants. Such judgments may be enforceable in the US under private international law and the principles of comity. Americans named as defendants in Ontario litigation should contact competent lawyers in both jurisdiction to strategize about how to deal with litigation commenced in a court in Canada.
Every week clients approach me to take their case on a contingency fee basis. I most often decline; let me tell you why. To begin with, let’s define our terms. A contingency fee is when the lawyer is paid if and only if the plaintiff wins or there is a settlement. If the client doesn't get any money then the lawyer doesn't get paid a fee.