What Happens In Italy, Stays In'? New Appellate Decision Interpreting Van Breda

Law FirmRogers Partners LLP
Subject MatterCorporate/Commercial Law, Energy and Natural Resources, Contracts and Commercial Law, Water
AuthorMs Meryl Rodrigues
Published date03 May 2023

In the recent decision of Sinclair v. Amex Canada Inc.1, the Ontario Court of Appeal reaffirmed the principles in the oft-cited jurisdictional decision of Van Breda2, and articulated a (perhaps disputable) framework for their application in a given case, following the appeal of three Italian companies from the dismissal of their motion for an order dismissing or staying the action for lack of jurisdiction.

Factual Background/Motion Decision

The tort action arose from an accident that occurred on July 25, 2017 in Venice, Italy. The plaintiffs/respondents were injured when the water taxi in which they were passengers crashed into a wooden structure.

The plaintiffs had arranged their travel through Amex Canada Inc. operating under the name of Centurion Travel Service ("Centurion"). One of the plaintiffs had used his Centurion card membership to book the trip, enjoying benefits through that membership.

The day prior to the incident, said plaintiff booked transportation from the Venice airport to the plaintiffs' hotel, which included the fateful water taxi ride. Centurion contacted a defendant, Carey International, Inc., which in turn contacted one of the defendants/appellants, Venezia Turismo, a water taxi dispatching company. Per the pleadings, Venezia Turismo then contacted another of the defendants/appellants, Venice Limousine S.R.L., the owner of the water taxi involved in the accident and employer of the operator of the water taxi.

It appears that the defendants, Venezia Turismo, Venice Limousine S.R.L., and Narduzzi e Solemar S.L.R. (whose role in events is unclear from the decision) brought a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, stay the action, on the basis that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice lacked jurisdiction over them. The motion judge dismissed the motion, seemingly on the basis of one of the presumptive connecting factors from the Van Breda analysis being met - namely that a contract connected with the dispute was made in Ontario. Those three defendants appealed.

Majority Reasons

In Van Breda, the Supreme Court set out four presumptive connecting factors that, prima facie, entitle a Canadian court to assume jurisdiction over an out-of-province defendant in a tort dispute, as follows:

  • the defendant is domiciled or resident in the province;
  • the defendant carries on business in the province;
  • the tort was committed in the province; and,
  • a contract connected with the dispute was made in the province.

In the within case, the majority of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT