Defendants want out of refinery lawsuit

Rob Antle
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Court Supreme Court justice considers applications

A number of defendants want out of a lawsuit sparked by a failed plan to build a second refinery in the province.

After hearing arguments in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court this week, Justice Richard LeBlanc is now considering their request.

In late 2008, BAE-Newplan Group Ltd. filed a $20.6-million lawsuit to collect on unpaid bills related to the refinery project.

A number of defendants want out of a lawsuit sparked by a failed plan to build a second refinery in the province.

After hearing arguments in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court this week, Justice Richard LeBlanc is now considering their request.

In late 2008, BAE-Newplan Group Ltd. filed a $20.6-million lawsuit to collect on unpaid bills related to the refinery project.

The lawsuit related to environmental and engineering work. BAE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Inc.

BAE filed its action against six groups of defendants.

The first three defendants were Altius Minerals Corp., Altius Resources Inc. and Altius CEO Brian Dalton. Altius Resources is a 39.6 per cent shareholder and secured creditor of Newfoundland and Labrador Refining Corporation (NLRC), the company formed to examine the refinery plan.

The final three groups of defendants were the directors of NLRC, directors of Altius Minerals and directors of Altius Resources.

The NLRC directors include a number of European investors who originally backed the refinery - the Monte Carlo-based Scottish mining entrepreneur Harry Dobson, English financier Stephen Posford and Irish businessman Jonathan Comerford.

The directors have all filed applications with the court to be struck from the action.

"To cause the 10 individual directors of the corporations involved in this claim to have to incur the expense of appearing and being part of the dispute, which is fundamentally a breach of contract dispute between SNC and NLRC, will cause significant delay to the trial proceedings and will be prejudicial and embarrassing to the proper administration of justice," lawyer Norman Whalen wrote in a court application filed on behalf of the NLRC directors.

"The applicants submit that the claim against them is false, scandalous and vexatious and was brought for an ulterior and improper purposes, resulting in an abuse of court process."

In previous court filings, BAE said there was "no distinction" between Altius Minerals, Altius Resources and NLRC, and said CEO Brian Dalton was "the controlling mind" behind all three companies.

BAE accused Altius of misleading it and having BAE continue work NLRC did not have the cash to pay for.

Those claims have not been proven in court.

Lawyers for all sides presented their case in three days of Supreme Court hearings this week.

Months before filing the current lawsuit against Altius and the directors in late 2008, BAE sought a Supreme Court ruling to declare NLRC bankrupt.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Refining, Supreme Court, Altius Resources Altius Minerals Corp. BAE-Newplan Group SNC-Lavalin Inc.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court

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Recent comments

  • Bones nephew 2nd cousin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    A defendant doesn't want to be sued... you don't say? Here the whole time I thought they all liked to be sued.

    blah/blah/blah/false/blah/scandalous/blah/vexatious/blah/brought for an ulterior and improper purposes/blah/abuse of court process/blah/blah/blah

    Judges must be VERY tired hearing the same crap over and over again.

  • Bones nephew 2nd cousin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    A defendant doesn't want to be sued... you don't say? Here the whole time I thought they all liked to be sued.

    blah/blah/blah/false/blah/scandalous/blah/vexatious/blah/brought for an ulterior and improper purposes/blah/abuse of court process/blah/blah/blah

    Judges must be VERY tired hearing the same crap over and over again.