Catalyst Capital Group Inc. v. VimpelCom Ltd., et al.

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)


Civil procedure — Abuse of process — Estoppel — Applicant’s bid to purchase interest in a mobile carrier unsuccessful — Mobile carrier thereafter purchased by a consortium that included a competing firm — Applicant unsuccessful in action claiming competing firm used confidential information to acquire mobile carrier — Applicant starting new action against additional defendants and claiming further causes of action — Motion to dismiss new action allowed on the basis of abuse of process and, as against some defendants, on the basis of issue estoppel and cause of action estoppel — Appeal dismissed — How should courts and parties balance the interests of proportionality while protecting a party’s right to pursue claims in cases involving multiple parties with different and separate causes of action? — Whether proof of detriment is a necessary element for a party to obtain equitable remedies for the tort of breach of confidence.


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This case arises out of the failed attempt by the applicant, Catalyst Capital Group Inc., to purchase Wind Mobile from the respondent VimpelCom Ltd. VimpelCom’s interest in Wind Mobile was ultimately purchased by a consortium of purchasers (made up of most of the other respondents). Catalyst sued the respondents, alleging they committed the torts of inducing breach of contract, conspiracy, and breach of confidence which prevented it from acquiring Wind Mobile. It also alleged that VimpelCom breached its exclusivity agreement and confidentiality agreement. Catalyst’s claim was introduced five days before the commencement of the trial in another action it had initiated relating to its failed attempt at purchasing Wind Mobile. The Superior Court of Justice dismissed that action and the Court of Appeal upheld that dismissal. The defendants to the current action moved to dismiss Catalyst’s statement of claim on the basis of issue estoppel, cause of action estoppel, and abuse of process. The motions judge allowed the respondents’ motion. He dismissed the claim against all the defendants as an abuse of process and the claim against most of the defendants on the basis of issue estoppel and cause of action estoppel. The Court of Appeal dismissed Catalyst’s appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

April 18, 2018
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

2018 ONSC 2471, CV-16-11595-00CL
Respondents’ motion to dismiss applicant’s statement of claim allowed; applicant’s action dismissed as an abuse of process.
May 2, 2019
Court of Appeal for Ontario

2019 ONCA 354, C65431
Appeal dismissed.