Daniel Ammazzini, et al. v. Anglo American PLC, et al.
(Saskatchewan) (Civil) (By Leave)
Civil procedure - Class actions, Appeals, Judgments and orders - Civil procedure — Class actions — Appeals — Judgments and Orders — Leave to appeal to Court of Appeal of Saskatchewan dismissed — What degree of scrutiny are courts expected to apply to any proposed settlement agreement and what factors are or should be relevant to the determination — Where an individual “opts out” of a class action, what limits, if any, are placed on the individual’s future litigation rights vis-à-vis the defendants in the class action.
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In 2011 the applicants brought a proposed multi jurisdictional class action in Saskatchewan under The Class Actions Act, SS 2001, c C 12.01, alleging that the respondents wrongfully restricted the global supply of diamonds to artificially inflate pricing. Previously, an action raising similar common issues was commenced and certified as a class action in B.C., and was certified for the purposes of settlement by courts in Ontario and Québec. On application by the representative plaintiffs in the BC and Ontario actions, a conditional stay of the Saskatchewan action was granted 2016 SKQB 53, aff’d 2016 SKCA 164, pending the decision on the certification action in Ontario.
A settlement agreement has since been reached by the plaintiffs in the Ontario, B.C. and Quebec actions, providing for payment by the respondents of the amount of $9.4 million for the benefit of the class, being all persons in Canada who purchased gem grade diamonds from January 1, 1994 to October 14, 2016. The settlement agreement requires the dismissal of those three class actions and either the dismissal or a permanent stay of the Saskatchewan action. Court approval of the settlement agreement has been obtained in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan granted the respondents’ application for a permanent stay of the Saskatchewan action and a Judge of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan denied leave to appeal that decision. The applicants seek leave to appeal those decisions, arguing that the settlement agreement is unfair and that the decisions jeopardize the litigation rights of those who opt out.
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