In a judgment that starts like a spy novel, the judge said it best: “In this case of sinister characters, fraud and spurious dealings with two forged cheques worth $156,250 US, I must decide who is the victim.”
In 1996, Dr. Nasrim Karim, a Calgary dentist and entrepreneur, became interested in buying a 50-per-cent share of the British Columbia rights for Blimpie Subs & Salads from Winston Taylor, an Oregon businessman.
Karim met Taylor in Oregon and Taylor suggested Karim purchase 25 per cent for $156,250 US, and the second 25 per cent for $150,000 US. Karim sent Taylor a letter of intent and a $30,000 US deposit cheque, payable to William Dunn Esq. (In Trust), whom Taylor said was his lawyer. Less than a month later, Karim sent a second cheque, similarly drawn, for the balance of $126,250 US.
According to court documents filed with Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary, Taylor had signed the back of Karim’s cheques as William Dunn, but the U.S. bank that deposited the cheques has been unable to locate any such person. In addition, the court noted that Taylor had associated himself in other Blimpie transactions with a person named William Dunn, whom court documents indicate was likely not a lawyer.
Karim sued her bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, in 2003 for cashing a forged cheque.
But the bank argued to the court that it was the victim, and is not responsible for refunding the money as it would be if the cheques were forged. The bank said that to establish a forgery, the claimant must prove the payee’s name was endorsed without his authority.
Justice Bryan Mahoney disagreed, deciding instead that Taylor and “the shadowy figure, Dunn” were likely not working together in this particular fraud, and so forgery likely occurred.
However, to get reimbursement for a forgery, Karim would have had to give notice to the bank within a year, but in her case, it was three. The claim against the Bank of Nova Scotia was dismissed and Karim is out her money.
Gas prices may be high, but the price of gas traders is even higher - or so confirmed a recent court battle between a trading and marketing company in Calgary and its senior trader.
Brian Chrumka was employed by TransCanada Energy Ltd. from 1992 to 2001. In late 2001, Mirant Canada Energy Marketing Ltd. purchased contracts (related to gas trading, marketing, transportation and storage agreements) from TransCanada, and hired Chrumka as a gas trader.
Court documents say Chrumka received $300,000 as a performance bonus for 2001, and $1.95 million for 2002, but a dispute over his $350,000 bonus for 2003 was recently argued before Calgary’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
In mid 2003, Mirant applied for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada), and began looking for a buyer for its gas-trading operations. Chrumka, under a Retention Payment Agreement, agreed to receive $806,910 in retention payments and a bonus if he stayed with Mirant until his termination.
In March 2004, Mirant terminated Chrumka’s employment. The next day Chrumka joined Toronto Dominion Bank.
Chrumka took Mirant to court, claiming entitlement to a severance package and $2.6 million for a 2003 bonus (five per cent of profits he generated), instead of the $350,000 he received.
Mirant argued that payment of any bonus is discretionary, and in light of its financial status, a decrease of Chrumka’s bonus was warranted.
Justice C.A. Kent found that as severance, Chrumka is entitled to pay in lieu of notice, but has mitigated his damages by starting work the next day after termination.
As such, he is only entitled to $29,166, an estimate of the difference between Mirant’s and TD Bank’s compensation.
For the 2003 bonus, Justice Kent found that although Chrumka may have believed insolvency of the company would not affect compensation levels, he “had to know that there was a risk in staying with the company,” and let the original $350,000 payment stand. Mirant has also offered to pay the $469,000 bonus embedded in the retention agreement.
Inline skating may be similar to ice skating in many ways, but coming to a stop is not one of them. An Edmonton man and his hip found this out the hard way.
Robert Rozenhart enrolled in inline skating classes through The Skier’s Sport Shop (Edmonton) Ltd. According to recent court documents, when Rozenhart arrived for the lessons, he was told the instructor was running late, but that he should go to Government House Park where the lessons would take place and get ready.
While fitting his rental skates, the owner of Skier’s mentioned that inline skating was “very similar to ice skating.”
Rozenhart went to the park and decided to try skating before the instructor arrived.
In an attempt to stop in ice-skating fashion, he fell and broke his hip, then sued the company.
In a case heard in 2002, Justice D. Lee found that responsibility for the accident was divided: Skier’s 25 per cent and Rozenhart 75 per cent.
Skier’s recently appealed to be released from responsibility, and Rozenhart cross-appealed to make the split 50-50.
The Court of Appeal in Edmonton found that by omitting that fact that braking is different on inline than on ice skates, the phrase “very similar to ice skating” can be deemed inaccurate.
As such, the court will not overturn Skier’s partial responsibility.
However, by not waiting for the instructor, Rozenhart must still shoulder most of the blame.
The appeal and cross-appeal were dismissed.
Cases taken from recent Alberta court documents.)