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Client Work

Sorotski v. CNH Global N.V., [2006] S.J. No. 258

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Sorotski v. CNH Global N.V., 2006 SKQB 168 (CanLII) Fasken Martineau partner John Morin appeared before the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench to argue against certification of a product liability class action on behalf of our client Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The representative plaintiff was seeking certification of a class of individuals who had purchased certain farm tractors and who were alleged to have suffered financial losses due to defects in the tractors' tracks. Goodyear had manufactured and supplied the tractor tracks. In Sorotski the Court found that two of the five basic requirements for certification were not met, namely the existence of common issues and the need for a class action to be the preferable procedure. Therefore, the Court ruled in our client's favour and denied certification. Over time Canadian courts have exhibited a more liberal approach to the certification of class proceedings, particularly with respect to the number of individual issues present in an action. Various courts have now held that the commonality requirement is met even where resolution of the common issues does not complete the liability analysis or address the amount of damage suffered by each individual. In Sorotski the Court held that the individual issues, which ranged from the different conditions to which each tractor was subjected, to the question of whether, and to what extent, each individual suffered damage, dictated against certification. The Court held that even if the tracks were found to be defective, an issue common to all claimants, each individual would still have to establish that his or her specific tractor had exhibited deterioration, that the defect caused it, and that compensable loss resulted. Resolution of this common issue would not significantly advance the litigation but would only mark the beginning of the analysis. While the facts of this case may have dictated the result, it is an indication that Saskatchewan courts may not follow the more liberal approach taken by the other provinces. Robin Roddey assisted on this matter by providing legal analysis and strategic counsel. Sorotski has applied for leave to appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.



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