Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc., et al. v. Ronald Asselin
(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)
Civil procedure - Class actions - Civil procedure - Class action - Authorization criteria - Common questions - Arguable case - Class action in contractual and extracontractual civil liability - Whether Court of Appeal erred in authorizing class action based on representations made individually by hundreds of financial advisors to thousands of investors in context of their personal financial planning under art. 1003(a) [now 575 para. 1] of Code of Civil Procedure - Whether, in light of release and injunction in homologation order, cause of action based on ABCP (asset backed commercial paper) was “arguable” for purposes of art. 1003(b) [now 575 para. 2] of Code of Civil Procedure - Whether Court of Appeal erred in concluding that purely speculative allegations concerning alleged error of design and management sufficed to establish arguable cause of action for purposes of art. 1003(b) [now 575 para. 2] of Code of Civil Procedure - Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR, c. C-25, art. 1003 (repealed) - Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR, c. C-25.01, art. 575 - Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C 36, ss. 16 and 17.
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The respondent, Ronald Asselin, made investments with Caisse Desjardins de Sherbrooke Est. Called “Perspectives Plus Term Savings” and “Alternative Term Savings”, they were principal protected term deposits that were not cashable before maturity. Following the economic crisis of 2008, Mr. Asselin was informed in March 2009 that although the principal was still protected, the investments would not yield any return and would continue not to be cashable until the end of the term. In 2011, Mr. Asselin filed an application for authorization to institute a class action in contractual civil liability against the appellant Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. on the ground that it had encouraged people to make investments that were represented to be safe even though they involved a specific risk that could affect their yield potential, and in extracontractual civil liability against the appellant Desjardins Global Asset Management Inc. on the ground that it had designed and managed the investments in question in a reckless and incompetent manner that was not in keeping with the risk associated with a financial product represented to be safe, and that it had used inappropriate financial strategies.
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