The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal from Stouffville’s Todd Brothers Contracting Limited in a years-long legal battle with Algonquin Highlands township.
Legal invoices obtained by the Times show the township has spent approximately $170000 on lawyers during the dispute nearly as much as the company was seeking in damages.
The dispute stems from the cancellation of the crosswind runway project at the Stanhope Airport.
Todd Brothers was hired in 2009 by the council led by reeve Eleanor Harrison for construction work on a new runway as well as rehabilitation of the existing runway. While the rehab work was completed the construction of a new runway controversial in the community was rescinded by the next council led by Reeve Carol Moffatt.
The federal and provincial funding that had been approved for the runway project was redirected to the township’s portion of the MNRF base project at the airport.
Todd Brothers was seeking nearly $180000 in damages representing 10 per cent of what the company was to be paid for work on the new runway.
In 2009 before the company’s tender was accepted Todd Brothers signed a waiver dictating that the company would “not seek any compensation for . . . work identified but not completed . . . in the event that the township cannot proceed to any of the phases as a result of matters beyond the control of the Township of Algonquin Highlands or delays resulting from the review being completed by the CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) . . . any other public issues/concerns or the withdrawal of funding from applicable sources.”
The company argued the decision to rescind the project was an entirely political one and therefore within the township’s control. However the judge who heard the case concluded the decision was made because of public concerns with the project. He ruled the township was entitled to rely on the waiver.
Todd Brothers then appealed that decision but was unsuccessful.
A Nov. 3 2015 judgment from the Court of Appeal for Ontario reads “The appellant has not identified any error of law or a palpable and overriding error of fact in the motion judge’s application of the waiver clause in granting summary judgment.”
The appeal was dismissed with costs of $8500 payable to the township.
Todd Brothers then appealed that decision with the Supreme Court of Canada which also dismissed the appeal.
“The application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario . . . dated Nov. 3 2015 is dismissed with costs” reads an April 7 2016 decision from the Supreme Court.
Through Freedom of Information requests the Times received copies of 19 invoices from Cassels Brock Lawyers dated between 2013 and April 4 2016.
The amounts of individual invoices range from just more than $450 to more than $34000 and total approximately $170000.
Moffatt told the paper the issue was still being handled by lawyers following the supreme court ruling and that there was little for her to say for the time being.
The owner of Todd Brothers did not wish to comment.