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Friedlander v. York Condominium Corporation No. 427 - 2022 ONCAT 67 - 2022-06-17

Corporation:

FYCC 427

Date:

2022-06-17

Under:

CAT Decisions - Motion Order
Procedural Issue with Governing Documents

Summary:

In the case of Friedlander v. York Condominium Corporation No. 427, the Applicant sought permission to file a report from acoustical consulting firm SoftdB dated June 1, 2022, in a dispute regarding unreasonable noise from an upper unit. The Respondent objected to admitting this document. The Member of the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) considered the relevance and timing of the report, taking into account the ongoing witness testimony stage of the proceedings. It was determined that the report's findings could be of assistance in determining whether the noise experienced by the Applicant was "disturbing." Although the report could have been obtained earlier, the Tribunal decided to admit it, provided the Respondent or the Intervenor could request an adjournment if needed.

Verdict:

In the case of Friedlander v. York Condominium Corporation No. 427 (2022 ONCAT 67), the Condominium Authority Tribunal allowed the Applicant's motion to admit a late acoustical report as evidence in a dispute related to unreasonable noise in a condominium complex. The decision highlighted the need to balance the probative value of late evidence with the principles of efficient resolution and fairness to both parties. While acknowledging that the report could have been obtained earlier, the Tribunal granted the motion, as it could aid in determining whether the noise experienced by the Applicant was indeed "disturbing" and was relevant to the case's central issue.

Takeaways:

Late Evidence Admission: The case involves a dispute regarding unreasonable noise in a condominium complex. The Applicant requested permission to admit a report from an acoustical consulting firm dated June 1, 2022, during the witness testimony stage. The Member considered factors from a previous case to decide on admitting late evidence.

Relevance of the Report: The report contains specific findings related to noise within the Applicant's unit, which could help determine what constitutes "unreasonable" noise, a crucial aspect of the case.

Timing and Prejudice: The Tribunal noted that the report could have been obtained earlier, but its admission at this stage would not unduly prejudice the Respondent or Intervenor since the proceedings were still at an early stage.

Balancing Interests: The decision emphasizes the balance between expeditious hearings and ensuring fairness to both parties.

Adjournment Consideration: The ruling allows for potential adjournments if needed by the Respondent or Intervenor to review the new evidence.

Recommendations: 

Early Expert Evidence: Encourage parties involved in condominium disputes to obtain and disclose expert evidence, such as acoustical reports, at an earlier stage in the proceedings, ideally before formal applications are made. This can help streamline the process, prevent delays, and ensure all relevant evidence is considered from the outset.

Stricter Case Management: Implement more stringent case management practices, especially as the proceedings advance. Ensure that all parties adhere to deadlines for document disclosure and expert reports. Stricter timelines can help maintain the efficiency of the proceedings, as indicated in the Tribunal's ruling.

Guidelines on Evidence Admission: Establish clearer guidelines on the admission of late evidence in legal proceedings, specifying under what exceptional circumstances evidence may be admitted after prescribed deadlines. These guidelines should weigh factors like the probative value of the evidence, the potential for prejudice to other parties, and the overall impact on the efficiency of the legal process. This could help maintain a balance between fairness and efficiency.

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