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Class Actions

Class Actions
Class Actions

What is impressive about the team is that it can litigate hard and aggressively but can also do settlements, which is a different kind of advocacy and is about figuring out what’s important for both sides.

Dispute Resolution Class Action (Defence): Band 1, Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020

Class actions remain top of mind for most businesses with operations or interests in Canada — and Blakes is at the forefront of class actions defence with one of the most experienced teams in the country. Spanning nearly four decades, we have defended clients in more than 400 class actions across the country, including precedent-setting cases with industry-wide implications and multijurisdictional cases requiring global coordination. We are also among a small number of Canadian firms with notable class action success at trial and on dispositive applications and motions.

Developing an appropriate strategy to mitigate risk and manage the defence of a class action claim is vital, and a keen understanding of our clients’ businesses and industry sectors allows us to be pragmatic in the advice we give. 

Our trial and appellate lawyers defend clients at all levels of courts and are skilled in preparedness, strategic planning, mediations, arbitrations and negotiated settlements. A key advantage is the experience of our integrated and coordinated national team of leading litigators who have deep knowledge and experience within each of the major Canadian jurisdictions. This platform ensures that we are able to expertly advise on class actions across the country.

Our Class Actions team draws on the strength of other leading practices within our Firm, including Competition & Antitrust; Environmental; Aboriginal; Pensions, Benefits & Executive Compensation; Financial Services; Insurance; Employment & Labour; Life Sciences; Product Liability; Privacy; Anti-Spam; and Capital Markets, among others. We are also supported by a dedicated e-discovery and document management team through Blakes inSource, our in-house innovative service delivery, and advanced technologies that significantly reduce the time and cost associated with large document cases. Additionally, we work with a broad range of independent experts, including doctors, scientists, economists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and others, to assist in the presentation of a case and to provide evidence at trial.

We work alongside U.S. and international law firms, advisers and experts to ensure effective coordination of claims that are international in scope and extend into Canada. Through our cross-border experience, strong communication and collaboration, we help ensure the best representation for our clients.

As recognized leaders in this area, our litigators regularly participate in initiatives seeking to improve class-action procedures across Canada, such as the Canadian Bar Association’s National Task Force on Class Actions and the Ontario Bar Association's Class Actions Law Section Executive, and are often invited to speak on topics related to class actions.

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Recent Experience
  • Successfully defended an RESP company in a class proceeding arising out of a privacy breach at an Ontario hospital.

  • Successfully defended CHC Casinos Canada Limited and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in class actions arising out of a cyber-attack against Casino Rama.

  • A number of leading multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in multi-provincial class proceedings, alleging product liability (negligence in design, manufacture or warnings) and claiming hundreds of millions of dollars for personal injuries and medical monitoring and disgorgement remedies. Active class actions that Blakes is currently handling relate to pelvic repair systems with transvaginal mesh, hip replacement products, medications for severe acne, pain medications, antipsychotics, and other medicines and medical devices.

  • A number of multinational companies in leading antitrust class actions, including air cargo, numerous auto parts, beer, capacitors, car carrier services, chemicals, chocolate, computer operating systems and applications, credit cards, CRTs, DRAM, hydrogen peroxide, LCDs, lithium ion batteries, polyurethane foam, rubber and vitamins. 

  • A number of institutions and individuals in securities class actions, including allegations of primary and secondary-market misrepresentation, misappropriation of funds and securities fraud.

  • One of the world’s leading manufacturers of lifesaving cardiac devices in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to a defence verdict in Canada. The case was awarded “Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year” in 2013 by LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America.

  • Celestica Inc. and two of its former officers in the successful defence of a secondary-market securities class action in Ontario. 

  • Coca-Cola Ltd. in successfully opposing certification of class actions concerning alleged misleading advertising and labelling of vitaminwater® in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

  • Amway Canada Corporation in its successful defence of a class action seeking certification of a national class of Amway distributors, based on alleged misrepresentations regarding the level of income they could achieve under the Amway plan and that it operated a pyramid scheme, in violation of the Competition Act. 

  • One of the world’s leading manufacturers of fire protection systems, successfully defending some 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages. 

  • A plan sponsor in successfully defending a class action challenging the addition of employees from two of the company’s wholly owned subsidiaries to an existing plan that enjoyed a significant surplus. It was the first pension-related class action in Canada to proceed to a common issues trial.

  • Nestlé Canada Inc., at summary trial, trial and appeal, in a proposed class action that was dismissed after each stage, including leave to appeal being refused by the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • A major federally chartered bank, at trial and appeal, in a landmark class action brought against nine federally chartered banks alleging that the banks had breached the Quebec Consumer Protection Act in relation to foreign exchange conversion fees on credit card transactions.

  • A multinational manufacturer of consumer products in successfully opposing certification of class actions in Quebec and British Columbia, alleging false and misleading representations regarding children's cough and cold medicines. 

  • The Province of British Columbia in successfully opposing certification of a class action, alleging that the Province’s regulation of fish farms had harmed the aboriginal fishery. 

  • A major consumer appliance manufacturer, as co-counsel, in successfully opposing certification of a national class action in Ontario, alleging a design defect in front-loading washing machines. 

  • CIBC Trust Corporation in successfully opposing certification of a class action brought by residents of the Piikani Nation, alleging breach of trust arising from the administration of the C$65-million trust for the Piikani Nation. 

  • A corporation in a class action related to the loss of data tapes containing the personal and financial information of its customers.

  • A multinational automotive parts manufacturer in class actions alleging a price-fixing conspiracy in relation to fuel injection systems.

  • Union Tank Car Company, a lessor of rail tank cars, in the defence and settlement of a proposed class action brought against more than 40 defendants following the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic in June 2013 that killed 47 people and destroyed most of downtown Lac-Mégantic.

  • PRL Financial (Alta.) Ltd. and Payroll Loans (Alberta) Ltd. in a class action brought on behalf of borrowers alleging that fees and interest charges exceeded the amount allowed by the Canadian Criminal Code provisions.

  • Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Canada in class actions that claim Microsoft breached various competition laws in the sale of software products throughout Canada.

  • Concentra Trust in connection with a class action in which more than 9,000 class members sought C$250-million in damages based on allegations of misappropriation of funds and securities fraud.

  • Appleby Services (Bermuda) Limited, one of many defendants and third parties, in a class action seeking the return of a substantial amount contributed by the class and various Canadian charities.

  • A multinational credit card provider in seven multimillion-dollar class actions involving conspiracy claims with respect to the setting of merchant discount fees.

  • Crelogix and other defendants in an Alberta class action relating to promissory notes purchased by Crelogix from a timeshare company that subsequently went bankrupt. 

  • A leading trust company, one of two defendants named in a proposed class action, in which the plaintiff seeks damages in connection with the defendants’ role as trustee of a fund established to pay health and welfare benefits for employees.

  • A former officer of The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. in a national securities class action alleging improper disclosure in Cash Store’s public findings. ​

Awards & Recognition

Members of our Class Actions group are recognized as leaders in the most recent editions of the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 1 in Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence), Dispute Resolution, Competition/Antitrust, and Litigation – Products Liability; Band 2 in Litigation – White Collar Crime and Government Investigations

  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Band 1 in Dispute Resolution, Class Action (Defence) and Competition/Antitrust

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Recognizes Blakes as a leading firm with several offices and individuals ranked in Class Actions

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – Class Actions, Competition Litigation, Environmental, Product Liability, Securities and White Collar Crime

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory Litigation: Class Actions, Competition Law, Litigation: Product Liability, Litigation: Securities, and Pensions & Employee Benefits

  • The Legal 500 Canada – Dispute Resolution, Competition and Antitrust 

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

Blakes and members of our group have also received the following awards:

  • Benchmark Canada Awards – Members of our group have been awarded Product Liability Litigator of the Year several years in a row, including in 2019.

  • Best Lawyers Awards – Two of our lawyers were named Class Action Litigation Lawyers of the Year in 2018.