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Oakdale Kitchens Inc. v. Williams & Partners, 2011 ONSC 6417 (Div. Ct.) (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentay discovery)

Judgment Released: October 28, 2011   Link to Judgment

In determining the relevance of documents to be produced, a court may look to a forensic report on which the Statement of Claim is based. Such an approach would not mean that the scope of relevance was being determined by something other than the pleadings.

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Oakdale Kitchens Inc. v. Williams & Partners, 2011 ONSC 6417 (Div. Ct.) (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentay discovery)

El Dali v. Panjalingam, 2011 ONSC 3418 (S.C.J.) (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentary discovery)

Judgment released: July 12, 2011   Link to judgment

In applying Rule 30, dealing with documentary discovery, the Court adopted the definition of “relevancy” set out at paragraph 2.35 of Sopinka, Lederman & Bryant,  The Law of Evidence in Canada, 3d ed (Toronto: Lexis Nexis, 2009), as follows: 

 2.35 A traditionally accepted definition of relevance is that in Sir J.F. Stephen’s  A Digest of the Law of Evidence, where it is defined to mean:

… any two facts to which it is applied are so related to each other that according to the common course of events one either taken by itself or in connection with other facts proves or renders probable the past, present, or future existence or non-existence of the other.

Pratte J. in R. v. Cloutier accepted a definition from an early edition of Cross on Evidence:

For one fact to be relevant to another, there must be a connection or nexus between the two which makes it possible to infer the existence of one from the existence of the other.  One fact is not relevant to another if it does not have real probative value with respect to the latter.

Although the question of relevance and admissibility generally is for the trial judge, whether a fact bears the required relationship to another fact is not usually determined by the application of a legal test.  It is an exercised in the application of experience and common sense.  Thayer believed that logic (not the logic of deductive reasoning, but of knowledge and experience) provided the best guide to the application of this fundamental principle of evidence law.  Doherty J.A. in R. v. Watson stated that “relevance”:

 … requires a determination of whether as a matter of human experience and logic the existence of “Fact A” makes the existence or non-existence of “Fact B” more probable than it would be without the existence of “Fact A”.  If it does then “Fact A” is relevant to “Fact B”.  As long as “Fact B” is in itself a material fact in issue or is relevant to a material fact in issue in the litigation, then “Fact A” is relevant and prima facie admissible.

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El Dali v. Panjalingam, 2011 ONSC 3418 (S.C.J.) (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentary discovery)

Webb v. Jones, 2011 ONSC 2479 (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentary discovery)

Judgment Released: April 19, 2011   Link to Judgment

The court, citing Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th edition, defined a document as relevant “if it has probative value; if it is logically connected to and tending to prove or disprove a matter in issue. In other words, it must have persuasive value concerning an alleged fact.”  It held that a plaintiff’s pre-accident medical condition is relevant when it relates to similar complaints made after and attributed to his accident, noting that “this does not entitle the defence to go on a fishing trip through the plaintiff’s medical history; however, it does entitle the defence to target specific types of complaints and question whether these arise from a pre-existing condition.”

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Webb v. Jones, 2011 ONSC 2479 (Rule 30.02 – scope of documentary discovery)