MediaQMI Inc. v. Magdi Kamel, et al.

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure - Discontinuance - Civil procedure - Discontinuance - Right to remove exhibits from court record - Judicial discretion - Openness of court proceedings - Media company bringing motion to end sealing in order to access exhibits filed in support of originating application - How discontinuance and application to remove exhibits affect application for access to exhibits and pleadings filed earlier - Analytical approach to be taken in deciding application for access to exhibits and pleadings where discontinuance and application to remove exhibits are later filed - Whether MediaQMI was entitled to have access to and examine content of exhibits in issue - Articles 108 and 213 of Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR, c. C-25.01.



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On October 6, 2016, the respondent Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS) instituted an action against the respondent Magdi Kamel, a former managerial employee. The CIUSSS claimed a sum of money equal to the amount reimbursed to Mr. Kamel for allegedly unlawful personal expenses, as well as damages and a Norwich order to obtain certain financial information from a bank about its customer, Mr. Kamel. On October 7, a Norwich order was authorized, as was the sealing of the record for a period of 120 days, which was later renewed. The sealed record contained four exhibits at the time, including an investigation report produced by forensic accounts at the request of the CIUSSS. On March 27, 2017, the appellant media company, MediaQMI Inc., filed a motion to end the sealing and applied for access to the contents of the record and to the originating pleading. On April 19, 2017, the CIUSSS filed a discontinuance of its action against Mr. Kamel. On April 21, 2017, Mr. Kamel filed an application to have the originating pleading removed from the record or, alternatively, sealed. On April 25, 2017, during the hearing of Mr. Kamel’s application, the CIUSSS also applied for the removal of Exhibits P-1 to P-4. MediaQMI contested both applications. On July 20, 2017, the Superior Court rendered judgment. It held that the originating pleading had to be kept in the record and made public but that the CIUSSS could remove Exhibits P-1 to P-4 from the record. MediaQMI then appealed the judge’s conclusion concerning the removal of the exhibits. A majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. A dissenting judge would have allowed the appeal.