February 14, 2023 – Update
- In reasons for decision released on February 14, 2023 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the Settlement discussed below. Please click here to view or download the reasons for decision.
Athletic Trust Tax Class Action
On April 15, 2009, a class action lawsuit was launched on behalf of the proposed representative plaintiff Jeffrey Lipson, against Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP (“Cassels Brock”) in respect of allegations relating to a legal opinion prepared in support of a timeshare program operated and promoted by the Athletic Trust of Canada (the “Legal Opinions”) for anticipated tax credits. Mr. Lipson brings the action on behalf of individuals who participated in the Timeshare Program in 2000, 2001, 2002 and/or 2003 and received Timeshare Weeks from the Athletic Trust and donated them, together with a cash donation, to one or more registered charities (the “Class Members”).
Mr. Lipson’s statement of claim alleges that, among other things, the Legal Opinions did not meet the appropriate standard of care, contained various express and implied misrepresentations and that as a result, the Class Members suffered damages when the Canada Revenue Agency disallowed the charitable donations. The allegations in the statement of claim have not yet been proven in Court.
Motion for Settlement Approval & Approval Decision
The Plaintiff and Cassels Brock have agreed to settle this class action for the all-inclusive amount of $8.25 million. The settlement was reached following extensive negotiations between the parties and with the assistance of a retired judge (mediator).
The agreement to settle this matter does not imply any liability, wrongdoing or fault on the part of Cassels Brock. None of the allegations against Cassels Brock have been proven and Cassels Brock expressly denies any liability, wrongdoing and/or fault.
The settlement was subject to the approval of the Court, which was required to decide whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of Class Members. The Court held a hearing, via Zoom, to decide whether to approve the settlement in Toronto on January 20, 2023. As set out above, in Reasons for Decision released on February 14, 2023 the settlement was approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Further updates on the next steps in the settlement will posted in the near future.
Updating Class Member Contact Information
In order to communicate with class members in an effective manner, as well as mail class members a cheque for their share of the Settlement Fund, Class Members are requested to confirm or update their contact information by sending an email to the settlement administrator RicePoint Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the change of address portal HERE.
History of this Class Action
Certification Hearing & Appeal - The Plaintiff’s certification motion was heard in Toronto on November 7 and 8, 2011. In reasons for decision released on November 14, 2011, the Plaintiff’s certification motion was dismissed by the Court.
The Plaintiff appealed the Court’s decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The Plaintiff’s appeal was argued on September 17 & 18, 2012. In reasons for decision released on March 19, 2013, a unanimous Court of Appeal allowed the Plaintiff’s appeal and certified this action as a class proceeding. To view or download a copy of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Lipson v. Cassels Brock click here: Court of Appeal Reasons Lipson v. Cassels Brock.
Court Approved Notice of Certification - Pursuant to the Order of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Mr. Lipson has been appointed to act as the Representative Plaintiff for the following Class:
- All individuals who applied and were accepted to be beneficiaries of the Athletic Trust in 2000, 2001, 2002 and/or 2003 and received Timeshare Weeks from the Athletic Trust and donated them, together with a cash donation, to one or more of the RCAAAs (the “Class Members”).
Class Members were not required to do anything to be Class Members in this action. Persons falling within the Class definition described above were automatically included in the Class unless they chose to exclude themselves from this proceeding. The original deadline for opting out expired on September 26, 2014 and was, for some previously un-notified Class Members, extended to June 17, 2015. Both opt-out periods are now closed and any Class Members that did not provide a written request to opt-out remains members of the Class.
For more information about this action please contact James Katsuras at:
Tel: 416 362 1989
Fax: 416 362 6204