Class Action Update May 18, 2010
What is the status of the case?
The action was commenced by the plaintiff, Trillium Motor World Ltd., against General Motors of Canada Ltd. and Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP in January 2010. The most recent version of the statement of claim is dated February 12, 2010.
This action was brought on behalf of all dealers which signed the Wind-Down Agreement. A separate action has been started by another law firm against General Motors on behalf of the dealers which did not sign the Wind-Down Agreement. That case is separate from this case.
In order for the action to proceed as a class action, the plaintiff has brought a motion for certification. The outcome of the motion will determine whether this action can proceed as a class action. If the action is certified as a class action by the court, each dealer which signed the Wind-Down Agreement will be a member of the class (unless the dealer chooses to opt out of the class action after certification) and may receive benefits if the action is successful.
The plaintiff has served its certification materials on the defendants. The defendants must deliver their responding material by May 31, 2010. The plaintiff will then have the opportunity to serve reply material by June 30, 2010. Following the exchange of material, the parties will proceed to cross-examinations which must be completed by September 15, 2010. Following the exchange of written argument, the lawyers for all parties will argue the certification motion before the judge who has been specially appointed to manage this case.
When will the certification motion be heard?
The certification motion will be heard on December 15-17, 2010. The location of the hearing will be posted on Sotos LLP’s website in the weeks leading up to it. The hearing is open to the public and you are welcome to attend.
Please note that the certification motion is not the trial itself. That will come later. However, the certification motion is a very important step as it will determine whether the action will proceed on behalf of the entire group of dealers which signed the Wind-Down Agreement, or simply on behalf of the named plaintiff, Trillium Motor World Ltd.
Do class members have to contribute to legal fees?
The plaintiff class is represented by the law firms of Sotos LLP and WeirFoulds LLP. The law firms are bringing the action on a contingent fee basis (other than for a fixed amount of fees which has already been paid for, and excluding disbursements, which are different from fees and are discussed below). No dealer will be required to pay further fees if the action is not successful or if the action is not certified. Similarly, no dealer other than the representative plaintiff will be required to pay any costs awarded to the defendants if the action is unsuccessful or if the action is not certified by the court. However, if the action is unsuccessful or if it is not certified by the court, and the representative plaintiff is required to pay costs to the defendants, we will be asking for a voluntary contribution from each of the dealers to help pay for any costs awarded against the representative plaintiff.
Financial contribution toward disbursements
In the course of bringing and advancing this action, the law firms need to pay certain out-of-pocket expenses (referred to as disbursements). These include things such as payment of experts’ fees, transcripts for examinations, photocopies, long-distance telephone charges, etc. According to the retainer agreement, these expenses are payable as they arise. To date, we have received contributions from a group of dealers for the payment of disbursements. In order to ensure an equitable sharing of the expenses, we are asking each member of the proposed class to contribute $5,000 towards the disbursements. This voluntary contribution will help ensure that the expenses necessary to bring this action forward will be covered and that no necessary costs will be spared in the prosecution of this important claim. Any amounts not used for this purpose will be used to fund any costs award which may be made against the representative plaintiff.
You may make a contribution to the disbursements by mailing a cheque payable to “Sotos LLP in trust” to the following address:
180 Dundas St. W., Suite 1250
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8
ATTENTION: DAVID STERNS
Please indicate on your cheque or cover letter that the payment is in respect of the “General Motors/Cassels Brock class action” and provide us with your most current contact information, including your e-mail address.
This case would not be possible without the willingness and the tremendous efforts of the representative plaintiff and a committed group of former dealers. We hope that you will show your support for this action by your voluntary contribution. All contributions will be repaid in priority to any other payments from any proceeds of settlement or judgment.
How to access information about the lawsuit
Information regarding the lawsuit is available on Sotos LLP’s website. You can read the court filed documents, get answers to frequently asked questions, and find out important upcoming dates for the lawsuit by checking it regularly.
We will post new information and updates on the website as and when they become available. If you would like to receive updates by e-mail, please ensure that we have your current e-mail address.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Contact Sotos LLP
180 Dundas Street West,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada