Galaxie Signs Ltd. v. John Graham

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Courts - Judges, Jurisdiction.


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Courts – Judges – Jurisdiction – Functus officio – Right and responsibility of a court to act on its own motion when necessary to maintain the authority and integrity of the court and to protect the administration of justice – Whether a trial judge has the discretion, on his or her own motion, to vary a previous order so as to protect the integrity of the courts and to avoid bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

John Graham was employed by Galaxie Signs Ltd. three times between 1983 and 2007. In a summary judgment, Groves J. found that he was constructively dismissed in 2007 and there was no evidence of failure to attempt to mitigate his losses. After a viva voce trial, Groves J. held that the parties had agreed to treat all three periods of employment as continuous. He awarded a 10 month notice period and $44,617 in damages. Galaxie discovered new evidence. Groves J. re-opened the trial on the issue of Mr. Graham’s relationship during the notice period with two third parties. He held that Mr. Graham was not credible or believable and he was, or should have been, paid for previously undisclosed work done during the notice period. Groves J. stated he was clearly wrong to have found Mr. Graham at trial to be believable but he was limited by the scope of the re-trial. He reduced the damages award and awarded special costs.