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Lahrkamp v Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 932 - 2019 ONCAT 4 - 2019-02-20

Corporation:

LMTCC 932

Date:

2019-02-20

Under:

CAT Decisions - Motion Order
Fees, Costs, Penalties

Summary:

In the case of Lahrkamp v Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 932, the applicant brought a case seeking an order for the respondent to provide records. However, the case was deemed vexatious and dismissed without a hearing. The respondent then requested costs, and after considering submissions from both parties, the adjudicator ordered the applicant to pay $2,500.00 in costs to the respondent. The adjudicator determined that the applicant's case fit within a pattern of vexatious conduct and was brought for an improper purpose. The adjudicator also noted that the respondent had incurred costs related to their participation in the early review process.

Verdict:

Verdict: The case brought by the applicant against Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation No. 932 was deemed vexatious and dismissed without a hearing. The applicant was ordered to pay $2,500.00 in costs to the respondent due to an improper purpose and a pattern of vexatious conduct.

Lesson: This case highlights the importance of bringing forward valid cases, and not pursuing an improper purpose in an attempt to continue a dispute. It also shows that vexatious conduct can lead to an order to pay costs to the respondent.


Takeaways:

The designation of a user as a vexatious litigant may prevent them from bringing an application to a condominium authority tribunal. The CTA may dismiss a vexatious application without a hearing, and the user may be ordered to pay a penalty.

Condominium corporations can seek costs related to their participation in an early review process initiated by a vexatious litigant's application. However, cost recovery is subject to limitations under Rule 33.1 of the CAT's Rules of Practice.

The CAT may exercise discretion when awarding costs, balancing the need to minimize vexatious applications and protect individual owners' rights against the collective interests of the condominium community. The awarded amount of costs should be reasonable, and submissions by both parties should provide proper information and detail to justify the amount.

Recommendations: 

Review the applicable legislation: It is essential for condominium corporations to be familiar with the relevant legislation to ensure that they are meeting their obligations and have a proper understanding of what is required of them as a corporation. This will help to avoid disputes and to ensure that they are abiding by the law. Condominium corporations must consult with legal professionals who are well-versed in the specifics of the Condominium Act, 1998.

Engage with self-represented litigants: With more and more people representing themselves in court cases and other legal proceedings, it is essential that condominium corporations are equipped to work appropriately with self-represented litigants. Condominium corporations must work to make sure that they are approachable, helpful, and try to avoid misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication. The CAT may also assist to provide further guidance on this matter.

Maintain a consistent approach: In general, condominium corporations must take a consistent approach in dealing with cases involving their unit owners or other parties with an interest in the corporation. They should take a case-by-case approach with regards to determining the costs for the opposing party. This will help to avoid allegations of bias or favouritism, which could ultimately create more legal issues for the corporation. Consistency will also help to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and that the condominium corporation strictly complies with applicable laws and regulations.


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