After a hard-fought, 77-day civil trial, Kornfeld LLP counsel Dan Parlow, Shane Coblin and Nils Preshaw won a major victory for the firm’s client in Youyi Group Holdings (Canada) Ltd. v. Brentwood Lanes Canada Ltd. 2019 BCSC 739.
The case involved a claim by the opposing party for specific performance of two real estate contracts entered into in 2012 for $32 million. Kornfeld’s client resisted this claim on a number of grounds, including deceitful conduct on the part of the plaintiffs and their agents.
The court ultimately determined that the documents that made up the transaction were intended to be used to deceive others and were formulated for unlawful purposes and were otherwise tainted by the illegality of the plaintiffs’ conduct. As a result, the contracts were held to be unenforceable for reasons of public policy. The court commented that the value of the main property had escalated to over $75 million by the time of trial.
The trial judge also found that much of the evidence of opposing party witnesses was aptly described as a “festival of deceitfulness,” noting in one instance that two central witnesses had worked together to provide false evidence to the court.
The trial was run electronically with evidence being filed on USB drives. Witnesses, counsel and the court all used monitors rather than traditional volumes of paper exhibits. Even closing submissions were hyperlinked to evidence, portions of witness transcripts and case law.