Summary Judgment Motions and Credibility Issues

Denis Grigoras

Denis is a lawyer who draws on his background in complex legal disputes and transactions to problem-solve for his clients.
Raghurai v. Chung, [2021] O.J. No. 3928, is a recent example where the court sets out the principles governing motions for summary judgment and addresses those in light of issues centred on the credibility of parties. Normally, when considering a motion for summary judgment, a motions judge engages with the Hryniak analytical framework process: (i) determining whether there’s a genuine issue requiring a trial based only on the evidence, without using enhanced fact-finding powers, then (ii), if there appears to be a genuine issue requiring a trial, determining if the need for a trial could be avoided by using the enhanced powers under r. 20.04(2.1) – which allows weighing of evidence, evaluation of credibility of a deponent, and draw reasonable inferences from the evidence – and under r. 20.04(2.2) ordering that oral evidence be presented by one or more parties. However, as Raghurai v. Chung demonstrates, where cases are centred on the credibility of parties, including when there’s a call for multiple findings of fact on the basis of conflicting evidence emanating from a number of witnesses and found in a voluminous record, a summary judgment motion cannot serve as an adequate substitute for the trial process.

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