Courts instruct Ontario judges to assume jurisdiction when a claim involves a contract made in Ontario or is governed by Ontario law.
In June 2003 Morgan van Breda, an Ontario women traveled from Toronto for a vacation at a Breezes resort in Cuba. Soon after arriving at the resort, Van Breda was paralyzed after an accident at the resort . In May 2006, the respondents commenced an action against several defendants, for personal injury damages, punitive damages and damages for loss of support, care, guidance and companionship. All defendants moved to dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction or to stay the action on grounds of forum non conveniens*. The motion judge dismissed the action against two defendants and refused to dismiss the action against Club Resorts Ltd. and two other defendants.
The ruling, in van Breda v. Club Resorts Ltd., further clarifies a key legal jurisdiction test established by the Ontario court of appeals . In its ruling the five judge panel court directed Ontario judges to assume jurisdiction when the claim involves a contract made in the province or governed by Ontario law; when the alleged negligence occurred there; or when the claim involved property there. Judges should now consider if there is a “real and substantial connection” between the claim and the province of Ontario or the defendant and the province of Ontario.
Given the fact that cross-border travel, is so common; it’s also likely that further legal disputes will be located across provincial or international borders.