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Danyluk v Ainsworth Technologies Inc, 2001 SCC 44


P commenced action for wrongful dismissal. The employer answered the complaint, but P never knew about it (ESA officer never told P), and the ESA officer later rejected her claim.


“Issue” - a material fact or element that may be part of a broader claim but that was distinctly put in issue AND necessarily had to be determined in the prior proceeding (ex validity of signature).

Court has discretion to deny the application of issue estoppel – more likely to use the discretion with previous admin decisions rather than court decisions.


Issue estoppel
**Any right, question, or fact distinctly put in issue and directly determined by a Court of competent jurisdiction cannot be relitigated in a subsequent suit between same parties or their privies
**Preconditions for issue estoppel:
***Same Q has been decided
***Prior adjudication w/ jurisdiction
***Judicial decision was final, AND
***Parties to decision were the same persons or their privies

Issue estoppel – a 2 part Analysis
**1st step – determine whether the moving party has established the preconditions to the operation of issue estoppel
**2nd – If yes, as a matter of discretion, should issue estoppel be applied?

Applying Test
**Same Q – (same issue requirement) applies to issues of fact, law, and mixed fact and law that are bound up w/ determination of the “issue” in the prior proceeding
***Must also be a degree of precision – p.373
****Issues must be put before the court and must be necessary for deciding the case
****Court may make a finding – and they may not have needed to for purpose of determining the case – so may want to make an argument there is no issue estoppel be it was not put in issue or essential to determine the case before them
****Must be distinctly put in issue and be necessary to determine the case
***Same issue is satisfied
**Final decision – satisfied
***This was an admin body – BUT they gave a final decision
***There was no possibility for P to appeal decision – while this may be a factor for discretion to deny issue estoppel, it does not affect the finality of the decision
***The fact that you have a right of appeal or review does not render the 1st decision not final – it is still final bc that particular adjudicators authority is spent on the case
**Same parties – in this case the parties are identical

**Broader discretion for decisions from admin tribunals
**Discretion is only relevant where the 4 prereq’s are satisfied
**Case specific
**Will rarely be used for prior court decisions
**Relevant factors for determining discretion:
***Wording of stat from which the admin power to issue orders is derived
****Did not intend the ESA to be the exclusive forum
****If wording of stat suggests exclusivity for certain Qs – then that would suggest that the court ought to defer to it
***Purpose of the legislation
****ESA – to provide quick cheap means of resolving matters
*****Less reason to defer here – bc this in not intended to replace a full procedural approach that you would get in a court – it is to provide quick access for a ruling
***Availability of an appeal
****Corresponds to “adequate alternative remedy”
****P didn’t have automatic right to appeal – but had the option and she didn’t exercise that option
****This makes it more likely that the court would defer to the admin decision
***Safeguards Available to the Parties in the Admin Procedure
****Some admins exclude probative evidence, and include less reliable evidence – if this is done then a factor for discretion of the courts
****Relates to purpose of leg – is meant to be a quick process
***Expertise of the Admin Decision Maker
****ESA officer was not a legally-trained person – and a legal issue was involved – makes discretion more likely
***Circumstances giving rise to the prior admin proceeding
****P brought claim to ESA when she was vulnerable
***Potential Injustice
****Court should take into account the entire situation


Based on discretion – court should refuse the application of issue estoppel

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