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No one enters a business relationship hoping to end up in litigation. But sometimes those disputes are impossible to avoid. When they occur, Stevenson Whelton has the expertise and track record to lead you and your organization to a successful outcome.

Stevenson Whelton’s primary expertise is in commercial litigation, which usually involves business disputes such as those between partners or shareholders, lenders and borrowers, suppliers and purchasers, landlords and tenants, and other contractual disputes. These include real estate disputes, oppression and derivative claims, commercial lease disputes and disputes between joint venturers.

Sometimes these dispute require trials or arbitrations, but our lawyers understand that business disputes also provide opportunities for business solutions.  We are well prepared to identify such situations for our clients and always look for creative solutions.

Stevenson Whelton’s clients benefit from its advantage as a commercial litigation boutique in bringing their disputes to a successful conclusion, whether through litigation, arbitration, mediation or negotiation.

Recent Cases

  • Struthmann v. Struthmann, 2020 ONSC 759

    Stevenson Whelton partner Richard Macklin, and articling student Adam Varro, acted for a client who successfully obtained an order allowing him to buy out his estranged wife and daughter and have their employment, officer positions and directorships terminated. Each side alleged oppressive conduct against the other, and the business was in a deadlock position. Each side sought a buy-out order, on oppression grounds, under the Ontario Business Corporations Act (the Act). Our client also sought a buy-out order under section 207 of the Act. The Court declined to weigh in on the oppression allegations but did grant the order our client sought under s. 207 of the Act. The order was granted based on our client having been the more important contributor to the business. Thus, the case is an important authority in regard to an applicant’s right to obtain a buy-out order, in a case of corporate deadlock, in the absence of establishing oppression, based solely on their having made a more significant contribution to the business.

  • 7868073 Canada Ltd. et al. v. 1841978 Ontario Inc. et al., 2019 ONSC 1708

    In this case, argued by Stevenson Whelton partner Richard Macklin and associate Lucinda Bendu, the main issue was: what nature and quality of assets will be sufficient to defeat the other side’s assertion that the plaintiff corporation has insufficient assets and therefore security for costs should be ordered. Many cases, including this case, involve small business plaintiffs with imperfect financial statements and earnings histories. However, Security for Costs Orders, especially in the $1,000,000 range, have dramatic tactical implications on the proceedings as a whole, in the defendant’s favour. Therefore, such orders should only be granted in circumstances where careful consideration of the available assets and other issues has been given. Justice Hainey of the Commercial List wrestled with these issues in 7868073 Canada Ltd. et al. v. 1841978 Ontario Inc. et al., 2019 ONSC 1708. His Honour dismissed the motion for $1.0 million in security for costs and also ordered $43,000 in costs, in our client’s favour, in a later unreported endorsement.

  • Ali Zenaid Trading Company LLC v. Heys International Limited, 2019 ONSC 674

    This ruling by Master Jolley, in a case argued by Stevenson Whelton partner Richard Macklin and associate Lucinda Bendu, took a close look at the merits of Stevenson Whelton's client's claim. Her Honour found that the merits were sufficiently strong to defeat the motion for a six-figure Security for Costs Order – brought by an Ontario defendant. Defeating a Security for Costs motion on the “merits” ground is exceptionally rare in the case of a foreign plaintiff, that has no assets in Ontario. Her Honour addressed this unique practice issue, dismissed the motion and further ordered $15,000 in costs against the defendant.

  • 2303757 Ontario Inc. v. 2149589 Ontario Ltd., 2018 ONSC 5714

    Stevenson Whelton partner, Richard Macklin, successfully argued for a developer to obtain forfeiture of deposit on a failed real estate transaction. This case was a pre-cursor to the many forfeiture cases that have arisen since the fall of 2018. In this case, the developer (our client), obtained forfeiture of the deposit despite the argument by the purchaser that it had been defrauded by third parties (its lawyer and realtor).

  • Fortress Carlyle Peter St. Inc. v. Ricki’s Construction and Painting Inc., 2019 ONCA 866

    Successfully resisted an appeal of an order granting specific performance of an agreement of purchase and sale for condominium development lands in the Entertainment District.

  • Raki Holdings Inc. v. Lionheart Enterprises Inc., 2019 ONCA 786

    Successfully acted on an appeal involving the interpretation of a contract for the sale of development lands in which the parties' competing positions resulted in a purchase price difference of over $4,000,000.

  • Arista Homes v. Lakhany, 2019 ONSC 5189

    Successful summary judgment motion for breach of an agreement of purchase and sale for property. Over $300,000 in damages awarded.

  • Lin v. Brookfield Homes (Ontario) Limited, 2019 ONCA 706

    Successfully acted on an appeal concerning a failed real estate closing and the disclosure provisions of the Condominium Act.

  • Donis v. Paragon International Wealth Management Inc., 2018 ONSC 6921

    Successfully resisted a motion for an international Mareva order to freeze assets.

  • Celenza v Remax Premier Inc., 2016 ONSC 628

    Successfully resisted a motion for various interlocutory injunctions relating to the management of a joint venture between real estate brokers.