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Supreme Court declines to review our case
October 20, 2017
By Celia Sankar
2nd Application to SCC for leave to appeal
Yesterday brought the unfortunate news that the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review our appeal.
As there is no place to go when the nation’s highest court won’t hear the case, our lawsuit against Bell Mobility is now closed.
This legal challenge started more than five years ago when our lawyers filed a statement of claim on May 04, 2012 asserting that Bell had illegally confiscated millions of dollars in funds that had been prepaid by wireless customers.
The case was certified as a class action on October 4, 2013, meaning all affected consumers could sue Bell as a group, rather than individually. I was named the representative plaintiff.
After several rounds of legal wrangling in the lower courts, the case was heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal, which decided in Bell’s favour on April 4, 2016. Our lawyers then appealed to the Supreme Court to have that decision reversed.
The top court made no comment about the case, but it did send it back to the Ontario Court of Appeal to be reviewed.
After looking at the matter again, the Ontario court announced this past April that it made the same decision: Bell was allowed to seize the prepaid funds at a date that consumers alleged was earlier than the contracted date for forfeiture.
It is our appeal of that second decision that the Supreme Court has now declined to review.
It’s a disappointing outcome that feels rather anticlimactic. For me, the reticence of the nation’s highest legal forum on both occasions that we applied for leave to appeal leaves so many questions about this case hanging in the air.
As this matter is now over, I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for Class Counsel Louis Sokolov and our legal team, notably, Christine Davies and Jean-Marc Leclerc. Over the years, I’ve come to greatly respect and admire their talents and skills as legal experts, and their dedication as people who have chosen to use their expertise to protect the rights of vulnerable consumers. We were very fortunate to have them on our side.
I must also thank the Law Foundation of Ontario for approving our matter for support through the Class Action Proceedings Fund. For any individual, it’s a risky proposition to challenge a multi-billion-dollar corporation but the Foundation’s backing made this case possible and for that I’m truly grateful.
Finally, I’d like to thank all who have joined in on this effort over the years. Hundreds of consumers participated in various ways, signing petitions, contributing to hearings before the telecom watchdog, signing up to receive email updates, and corresponding with me.
It was wonderful to connect with you in this worthwhile endeavour. Your outrage at Bell’s actions, your enthusiasm for our legal challenges, and, I must add, your humour inspired and encouraged me. We did our best. It’s unfortunate that things didn’t go our way.
In the courthouse, as in life, you win some and you lose some, and the progression of time demands that you move on—with each experience hopefully making you stronger and wiser.
All the best,